Tuesday, March 14, 2017


By Juan Montoya
Remember our post about the local armored car company whose contract was cancelled by the Brownsville Independent School District after they discovered $495 missing six months after the fact?

It didn't matter that the culprit – a security company employee – had already been caught and fired for doing the same thing with the deposites he pivcked up at the Cameron County Adult Probation Office. Embarrassed that their auditing procedures lagged far behind the county's, the BISD elected to cancel the contract even after the company had made the district whole just as they did with the county.

So what does the district do? They went out and hired the services of Omaha, Nebraska-based Rochester Armored Car. Not only are they nort from Brownsville, but the employees are not local either.

In fact, the district has been toying around with the specs on the armored car contract, seemingly to make sure that only companies such as Rochester get the contract, and leaving out the local providers. Halfway through the bidding, the BISD raised the insurance requirements from $1 million to $5 million. Then they required two armed guards instead of one.

Still, American Surveillance prevailed and came in lowest at the end of the process.
Compare what happened at the county to what happened at the district.
BISD reported that it caught the theft of $495 from missing receipts that had been picked up last September. When it notified the company's owners, they learned that the guilty party – a "messenger" assigned to pick up sealed deposit bags from the company's armored-car clients – had already been charged by the management with local police for the other heist. The company quickly made the district whole when they learned of the missing money.

In that Cameron County case, the "messenger" had been caught taking money from the Probation Office totaling nearly $1,500. The administrators from the security company were alerted to the missing money after a cursory reconciliation of receipts had showed funds were missing from that office.

But what was the difference?
In the case of Cameron County, it took them only about a week to see that the receipts left by the employee of the security company when he picked up the sealed bags did not reconcile with the receipts they had at the local bank. In other words, the money had never made it to the bank after the messenger picked up the sealed bags. Somewhere between the time he picked up the bags and when the truck reached the bank he had pocketed the money.

But while it took the BISD six months to realize there was money missing, it took the county less than a week to detect the missing funds using its checks-and-balance procedures. In the case of the missing county money, the company was able to investigate its internal processes and discover that the suspected thief was a "bad apple" among its employees and he was turned in to the local police. The company also made the county "whole" on the spot. After all, every security company has millions in insurance to address such events.

Sources close to the events that uncovered the heist said that the security company had shown that they had cleared the suspected employee through the Texas Department of Public Safety, and had run his security check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation without any alerts from either body. In fact, he had been employed by Rochester, a leader in armored-car services in the country. County sources say that American Surveillance showed them he had been cleared by all these entities.

In the case of the BISD, its internal audit procedures procedures lagged far behind the day-to-day business and allowed the thief to continue nibbling away. In fact, if the BISD had alerted the company to the missing money early, it is possible that the theft at the county could have been prevented since the theft at the district occurred in September and was not detected until February. The county detected the theft last month and the culprit was nabbed and charged a week after it occurred.

A county source said that American Surveillance's quick internal investigation cleared a county employee who had been suspected of the theft.

"If ti hadn't been for the prompt response from American Surveillance supervisors, an innocent person might have been indicted and charged with a crime," said a county source close to the investigation. "They acted quickly once they were told of the missing receipts from adult probation."

What other shortcoming at the district are there?
And if the loss of the funds is what the district is worried about, have they checked to see how many such losses have been reported by Rochester compared to the one by American Surveillance.
The links below are just a sample of the losses of Rochester clients.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/12/25/texas-manhunt-underway-for-armored-car-driver-believed-to-have-stolen-cash.html (Loss: $200,000)

hhttp://www.newswest9.com/story/11002303/men-plead-guilty-to-attempted-armor-car-heist (Loss $2 million)

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/convict-faces-charges-in-bank-theft-case/article_e78cc524-0b18-595b-946e-a3319626ca4d.html (Loss $378,174)

http://www.qconline.com/archives/two-arrested-in-connection-with-armored-car-theft/article_494031aa-6211-562d-9a04-f7023730ce72.html (Loss $250,000)

http://www.theindependent.com/news/former-g-i-couple-sentenced-for-stealing-armored-carlast-modified/article_7f81547f-23df-5a79-a9b0-3d4101f1fb5a.html (Loss $75,000)

http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/two-sentenced-in-separate-embezzlement-cases/article_7dc49ea1-7e0d-58a8-ac0d-a0c2fc929fdb.html (Loss $160,000)


Anonymous said...

Just use BISD security to transport the money safely and save!

Anonymous said...

That would work unless you have someone like the BISD female employee from Food Service who was just arrested and charged with stealing from the district over for more than six years.

Anonymous said...

And who voted to approve such recommendation? The so-called board that is so passionate about money being used for things other than instruction. Right? Ha!

Anonymous said...

Are stupid or something? BISD is here to educate not to transport LIABILITY. Didn't you read the post? The courier company paid the losses right away. I want BISD PD protection my kids not $500.00. Think about it, if an officer pockets the money BISD or BISD would be on the hook.
However, let's assume your argument is valid, have you ran the numbers to calculate how much would it cost BISD?
1. Armored Truck $200,000.00 each (will need at least 2).
2. 4 Full time peace officers (Aprox. $35,000.00 Salary plus benefits each).
3. Operating Expenses.
4. Insurance.
5. Etc.
What BISD pays for pick up? Anywhere between $5.00 to $9.00.
Now please tell me where in the heck do you see the savings by BISD security escorting the money?....

Anonymous said...

To anonymous at 6:07 - finally got a smart cookie responding to this blog that is designed for all of us stupid to read it! Makes good sense and the use of some brains! Things looking up for you Juan if you have such people now running to your chismes!!!

Anonymous said...

You just exposed yourself as ignorant and idiotic. Why continue paying that much for an armored truck company with glorified mall cops when you have a competent security force that can take care of it ? Yep, let's continue wasting money... Just because you want to protect "your children"

Anonymous said...

bull shit