Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2014

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THE WEEK IN REVIEW: CLARK COUNTY:

On UMC theft investigation, Collins’ reaction to parking story

Metro Police are still investigating allegations of massive theft in the facilities department at University Medical Center.

You might recall police served several search warrants in January, turning up a storage unit full of what investigators think are stolen UMC goods.

What’s the latest?

The case is expected to go to a county grand jury soon. In the meantime, one of the suspects, former UMC facilities employee Sime Perkov, went to court last week to try to get back the items police seized from his storage unit.

Isn’t that a little bold for the subject of an investigation?

Perhaps, but Perkov is likely to be only a minor player in the case police and prosecutors say they are building.

Also under investigation are Chris Roth and Thomas Hutchison, both former managers at UMC. Police suspect the men were stealing UMC materials for use at homes and personal businesses and enlisted UMC workers in private projects while on the public clock.

What did police find in the storage locker?

The stash included more than 30 tools, such as power drills, staple guns, sanders, spray guns, table saws and nail guns. Detectives also found tax documents, six cabinets and other building materials.

Perkov says the items belong to him. His attorney, Joseph Sciscento, argued that the tools should be returned because Perkov hasn’t been charged.

Prosecutors countered that detectives have enough evidence to conclude the items were stolen from UMC or paid for with UMC money.

So did he get his stuff?

No. Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman ruled that she didn’t have jurisdiction in the case because she wasn’t the judge who signed the search warrant, and the case, if it goes to trial, will be in District Court, not Justice Court, Deputy District Attorney Scott Mitchell said.

Prosecutors aren’t totally heartless, though. They agreed to return Perkov’s tax forms so that he could file his 2007 taxes.

What did Commissioner Tom Collins think of the story last week about his parking habits?

For those who missed it, Collins had parked his enormous truck in the customer lot of the Clark County Government Center. Rank-and-file employees get in trouble for taking those spots, which are supposed to be reserved for citizens seeking government services.

When Collins found out that we had asked whether the restriction on the customer lot applied to commissioners, he flipped out. After leaving an in-progress zoning meeting, he walked up to our small office next to commission chambers and gave us a profanity-coated piece of his mind. His main point: I’ll park wherever I (expletive) want to.

After the story ran, Collins left a PG-rated message on a Sun editor’s voice mail, saying the story was the best we had written in six months. Thanks, Commissioner! Of course we also had another story in the paper that day about property taxes, so we can’t be entirely sure which one Collins liked.

Plenty of other readers responded to the story, too. Like Collins, most enjoyed the story — although perhaps for different reasons.

One pointed out that Collins is elected by the citizens, who are actually his bosses.

“I guarantee I don’t park in my boss’s parking spot at work,” the reader said.

Another offered to buy us a beer.

Collins seems like quite a character. What else can you tell me about him?

We’ll let the bumper stickers on his truck speak for themselves. Here’s a sampling:

• Vote Democratic: The (picture of a donkey here) you save may be your own.

• Eat Beef: The West wasn’t won on salad.

• Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

• Somewhere in Texas a village idiot is missing. (That one has an outline of the Lone Star State with a “W” branded on it.)

Speaking of branding, Collins’ truck also boasts a vanity license plate. It reads TBARK.

What does that mean?

The proper way to read it is “T-bar-K.” That’s the brand Collins uses on his cattle. The “T” stands for Tom and his wife’s name begins with “K.” Cute, huh?

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