Camera equipment missing from city hall
Port Aransas police are trying to locate more than $1,000 worth of city-owned photography equipment that has disappeared.
City Manager Robert Bradshaw said he hasn’t been able to find anyone in city hall who can recall seeing the equipment since it was loaned out to Claude Brown during the time he was mayor.
Brown said he left the camera and lens in his city hall office within a week after his term was up as mayor in the spring. He said he doesn’t know where it is now.
The Port Aransas City Council approved a city purchase of the digital Canon EOS Rebel, an 18-to-55 mm lens kit and a 55-to-250 mm lens. The camera, lenses and smaller associated photography equipment such as a charger and a flash card cost a total of $1,163.84, including shipping, according to copies of city invoices.
The camera and smaller lens were purchased in August 2006. The larger lens was bought in July 2008.
Bradshaw said the camera equipment was issued to Brown because the thenmayor wanted to document city capital improvement projects around town. In an interview, Brown agreed that he used the camera to shoot photos of street and drainage projects that he championed as mayor.
Brown said he cleaned out his office and cleared it of all of his personal possessions when Keith McMullin took over as mayor of Port Aransas in late spring. McMullin had run unopposed for mayor.
“When I cleaned out that office, it (the camera equipment) was sitting on the desk,” Brown said. “That’s the last I saw it.”
McMullin said he started moving into the office about a week before his swearing in on May 20. He said he never saw the camera gear.
Deputy City Manager Dave Parsons said the mayor’s office never is locked either during or after city hall’s business hours, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Many city hall employees have keys to the city hall building itself, because they sometimes have to work after hours, Parsons said.
Brown has lived in Pearland for several months now. Bradshaw said he spoke with Brown on the phone on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and that Brown told him that he left the camera in his office and hadn’t seen it since.
Brown said he encouraged Bradshaw to contact police and report the camera equipment missing.
With city employees unable to locate the camera, Bradshaw indeed did call the Port Aransas Police Department and filed a report on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
“We’ve got a report of lost or stolen property,” said PAPD Chief Scott Burroughs. “We’re in the process of speaking to witnesses and seeing if we can track down where it ended up.”
Asked if it’s a criminal investigation, Burroughs said, “We’re looking at it as a potential theft.” Police have no suspects, he said.
The city will await the conclusion of the police investigation before deciding what to do next, Bradshaw said. The goal is to get the equipment back, he said.
“It’s city property, and we’d like to get it back as soon as possible.”