Report: Ray Sowers, Former Montesano Police Chief, Bought $11,000 Worth of Dumb Crap on City's Dime

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One would think that a police chief who was prepared to jeopardize his entire career by buying a bunch of personal items with department funds would pick something cooler to purchase than vacuum cleaners and home-improvement supplies.

But such assumptions apparently don't account for former Montesano Police Chief Ray Sowers' penchant for keeping his house clean and well-outfitted.

A report, completed by the Washington State Auditor's Office and released Monday, lists $11,000 worth of unauthorized purchases made by the former chief, including:

1. Four vacuum cleaners.

2. "GPS devices."

3. "Computers"

4. "DVD Players"

5. "Cleaning supplies"

6. One television.

7. "Folding chairs."

Note: The auditor's office is currently compiling a more detailed report of several of the items, including how many, what kind, etc., per a Seattle Weekly request.

The chief, and perhaps others in the department, also appear to have made liberal use of the department's "fuel cards." Says the report:

The City has eight officers, but nine fuel cards were used for approximately 10 months. We found, while the patrol cars have a fuel capacity of approximately 19 gallons, in 21 instances of 52 fuel purchases, the amount exceeded 20 gallons. The City determined the ninth card was used to make approximately $3,000 in fuel purchases. Due to a lack of documentation, we were unable to determine who made these purchases and their business purpose.

Sowers was fired from his job last June, not long after some of these illicit purchases came to light. He was also charged with theft in December.

He was first investigated by the Washington State Patrol and found to have spent money on: digital cameras, laptop computers, a toilet seat, a post-style outdoor light fixture, a ceiling light, light switches, bathroom hardware and fixtures, two toilet brush sets, spackle, a shower liner, a toilet paper holder, a cordless phone, paper notebooks, a wireless Internet router, antivirus software and GPS units.

But in his defense, a modern police chief should never be without an ample supply of spackle.

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