City turns fuel logging device over to SCI
Finance Services Director Victoria Bateman said the fuel logger device discovered last week is now in the hands of SCI – the city’s fuel hardware provider – and extracting the data within the device will be handled by that company.
Bateman said no criminal investigation is pending at this time, but the Lee County Sheriff’s Department took fingerprints from both inside and outside of the box before it was turned over to SCI.
There were 1,200 transactions located on the data chip within the box and when SCI is finished extracting that information, the city will then be able to cross reference the data against its own fuel records.
Meanwhile, SCI will be in Cape Coral next Monday to begin installing a new fuel management system valued at $43,000, which includes wireless communication.
Bateman said the new equipment will negate the use of employees manually extracting the data from the fuel pumps.
SCI will be maintaining that database for the city and the new system will take roughly a week to install, according to Bateman.
“We will not have people going to the pumps any more, it will be in real time,” Bateman said.
The fuel log in question – a mechanical device used to collect and store data from the city’s fuel stations – was discovered last week by a city employee in the trunk of a city vehicle.
Discovery of the device led several local leaders to believe it was the piece of evidence that proved the city’s fuel was being misused by city staff.
Modification of the device proved that, according to City Manager Gary King, who added that the device had no legitimate purpose with those modifications, which included a “toggle switch.”
“We know this device was used for some improper purpose,” King said.
Bateman said Monday the city had 17 fuel loggers total, three of which were broken and one that was brand new and unopened.
While the device proved that one person intended to steal from the city, Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz said he wasn’t interested in finding who was to blame for the modified fuel logger, only making sure the city’s fuel management system was fixed.
The mayor didn’t agree.
“This person should be prosecuted it’s no different from building a device that would allow you to get cash out of an ATM,” Mayor John Sullivan said.
Councilmember Marty McClain said any discoveries resulting from box would likely be irrelevant since the box exchanged so many hands since its discovery, including other council members.
“I’m waiting to see what the outcome is, but as far as I’m concerned that box is worthless,” McClain said. “It’s been out of the hands of the proper process it should have taken.”
Councilmember Bill Deile said that city staffer, after discovering the fuel log, turned the device over to special consultant Bill Towler, who then took the device to King and then took the device to Deile.
Deile said he sealed the device in an envelope, tagged it and then kept the device in the trunk of his car and his garage before he turned it over to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Deile said it is important to keep the Cape Coral Police Department out of the investigative loop because of “undue influence.”
Councilmember Kevin McGrail took umbrage with Deile being involved in the process of investigating what was being touted as possible criminal intent.
“The only one who doesn’t belong in the loop is the councilperson,” McGrail said.