I handed him my boss's business card and succintly informed Rick of how to contact my superior. He looked at the card, stuffed it into his pocket, and steamed away without another word.
Caught on tape
The next day, I pulled out the two laptops and resumed my work on them. When I stepped away for a half-hour lunch, I left them on my desk as we always did. When I came back, the laptops were gone.
It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where they had ended up, and simple network sleuthing confirmed my theory. Not only were the machines still in the building, but they were connected to the network and Rick's two consultants were logged into them.
I immediately called my boss and alerted him to what had happened. Chuckling, he said, "That dirty [expletive]! Did he really think he was going to get away with this? We're not even going to mess around with that fool! Call down to the security desk and report the equipment as stolen. Give them the models and serial numbers, and we'll let them deal with it."
Almost exactly 24 hours later, I got a call from security. Their findings weren't a surprise. Using keycard access records and video surveillance, they had discovered the laptops in the possession of the two consultants.
When Rick was questioned, he'd insisted that I had walked down and given him the laptops as loaners. However, when the security guards confronted him with the video footage of him taking the laptops from my desk, he changed his story. "I called him that morning, and he said that if he wasn't at his desk I could just take them."
However, the phone system didn't have a record of such a call to me, and neither did his BlackBerry. "Well, maybe it was in an email." Nope, no record of the message on the server.
Finally, backed into a corner, the claws came out again. "This is absolute [expletive, expletive, expletive]! All I needed was some [expletive] equipment! How can I run a project if I don't have computers??? This is absurd! I want to see your supervisor!"
"Sure, we can arrange that."
A short while later, there was a meeting with the security supervisor, Rick's manager, and a representative from HR. Rick was soon escorted out of the building. In the end, taking the laptops didn't get him fired, but being a brazen liar did.
Beware what you lie about, especially when dealing with IT. We document everything!
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This story, "Slimeball boss learns you don't mess with IT," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.