At least 300 new refrigerators valued at $500,000 are missing from a District housing warehouse in Northeast Washington, city housing officials said yesterday.
People living in city housing who needed new refrigerators were not getting then, according to Robert L. Moore, D.C. housing administrator. "They were told none are available and they are," he said, adding that about 60 new refrigerators are in the warehouse awaiting assignment.
The city has invoices showing at least 360 refrigerators coming into the warehouse, but "no evidence of how they left or who took them," Moore said.
The refrigerators had been purchased by the city over the last three years and were delivered to the housing warehouse at 21 M St. NE.
After delivery, they were guarded by a ingle watchman who "wasn't qualified to be a warehouse supervisor," Moore said. Neither a work order nor a requisition slip was required to remove objects from the warehouse, which also stores stoves, windows and doors.
"All you had to do," said Moore, "was pull up and say somebody sent me for it" and you could drive away with anything in the warehouse.
Moore said he has devised a system to control the problem and prevent recurrences. He has staffed the warehouse with 10 persons and established procedures for the release of objects, he said. In addition, before a new refrigerator will be released, a work order plus the old defective piece of equipment will be required.
A month ago, The Washington Post reported that 100 new stoves still in their packing cartons, bags of plaster, new windows, doors and kitchen cabinets were discovered unused and unaccounted for in five housing department warehouses.