SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — At least 18 state-owned cars have been stolen from a state garage in downtown Sacramento.
The cars belong to the Department of General Services (DGS) and were all stolen over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. DGS will not confirm the exact number of cars stolen — the number could be higher than 18.
Many state employees were shocked to hear the news.
“I’m shocked, it’s shameful,” said one state employee exiting the garage off 10th and O streets Monday.
DGS is staying pretty tight-lipped about the thefts since it’s an ongoing investigation.
“It’s a wake-up call. A friend of mine from work warned me this was gonna change a lot with DGS,” said state employee Theresa Chaney.
Monica Hassan, the Deputy Director of DGS’s office of public affairs released a statement that reads, in part:
“Since the incident, the Department of General Services has conducted a security assessment and review of the garage and has made adjustments to security policies and procedures.”
DGS did not wish to elaborate on those security policies but says the garage has a security guard that wasn’t present while these thefts were taking place.
The big question is how the cars were stolen. State employees say there’s a strict protocol in checking out a state vehicle. First, you must fill out a form online, then pick up your keys.
“You have to supply a driver’s license, you must fill out paperwork, get approval from management in order to get the keys and gas cards for the vehicle,” said state employee Zen Fuller.
While the California Highway Patrol is the lead agency in the investigation, Sacramento police have found a number of the unmarked state cars abandoned throughout the city.
“The Sacramento Police Department has recovered 13 of those vehicles, two of them were occupied where juveniles were arrested,” said Sgt Bryce Heinlein.
Police got into pursuits with two of the vehicles and two juveniles have since been arrested. At this point, the cars have not been linked to any crimes.
“We want to recover them and see whoever is responsible for this is held accountable,” said Sgt Heinlein.
Five cars are still unaccounted for. DGS says they’re looking into installing an electronic entry and exit system.
Since the incident, one employee says DGS brought in a 24/7 security team for one week, but that’s no longer the case.
DGS says they’ll continue to work in cooperation with law enforcement officials while they investigate.