7 city staff fired for theft

A Metro Vancouver city says it has fired seven employees involved in a "highly co-ordinated" theft scheme that lasted over a decade and cost more than $75,000.

Port Coquitlam issued a statement that says the plan involved deliberate, covert theft and sale of city property, although it does not say what kinds of items were stolen.

It says the employees pocketed about $75,000 overall, with individual employees receiving cash amounts ranging from less than $100 to $10,000.

But the city adds the amount is a conservative estimate and it originally paid much more for the property, most of which included new material.

Port Coquitlam says it's been investigating the scheme involving several employees with the Public Works Department since February.

It says the investigation is almost done and once it's fully complete, the information will be turned over to the RCMP.

"We want to stress the actions of the employees involved are not reflective of the character and commitment of the vast majority of the city's employees who work hard every day to earn the trust of our citizens," the city says in a statement.

"We are reviewing our processes to learn from this experience and will implement measures to address any gaps identified," it says.

Following charges of theft against a former employee last year, the city says it has already implemented a number of measures, including a whistle-blower policy in November.

The policy aims to create a safe environment for staff to come forward with reports of internal misconduct.

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