A colleague exchanged the ID sticker on my computer (our company's registered computer ID) with that of another computer. He did so with other computers as well.
In my company, computers and some other deemed important (expensive or not) pieces of equipment have a sticker with a QR-code containing information on the location of the equipment, owner and a unique procurement registration number. My company maintains a list of the equipment and every employee is supposed to be aware of the whereabouts of the equipment. The QR-codes are periodically scanned to check that the equipment is still present.
After a recent inspection (where each equipment with a QR code sticker was scanned) I noticed that one of my computer that a colleague took to his lab to help fix it didn't have the same registration number as the original one. So to give a concrete illustration, that computer of mine is registered with ID 12345 but after I take back possession of it, the sticker shows the registered ID is 67890.
I have found another computer with my original ID and it's an old one, definitely not mine.
Obviously the colleague exchanged my computer's sticker ID with that of another one, I have found out he did so with other computers as well (rarely used computers or that of former employees).
There are 2 aspects in this situation:
- the wrong doings of the colleague
- I have been unknowingly directly involved
- this colleague is famous, is appreciated by many other colleagues (and the boss)
- this colleague is "useful" to the company
- I would prefer a peaceful resolution of the issue rather than openly reporting him (with possibly serious consequences for the colleague, maybe myself, and our boss seems aware of the practice)
- I don't want to have problems myself
- I feel the colleague deserves some form of warning
How should I deal with this matter?
Further development and details.
After posting the question here, I have sent the colleague a friendly email (copied our boss), telling him that I took back my computer but noticed the ID was different, asking him if he had any idea about it.
When he arrived at the office I also directly told him I had taken back my computer to my lab. I saw him going to his lab, coming back with a PC and leaving my lab with the PC I had taken back earlier today (which is mine but with the wrong asset ID). The one he left in my lab is an old one but with my original PC asset ID. He came to me and said I took the wrong computer and added he replaced it with the correct one. I said mine isn't this brand, to which he replied that according to the sticker, the computer is his asset. I expressed my astonishment, saying again I was certain my computer was of brand xxx-xxx, to which he replied that from the ID it was his, and he added that the computer had been in his lab for a long time (the later is true, I asked him help to fix it more than 1 year ago). The whole conversation was cordial, he showed an incredible self assurance in lying, and I didn't insist.
I suppose that now he knows I know he cheated. The next course of action is to find proof of his wrong doing, and then either I kick the ant nest (and I may be bitten), or I let it all go, swallow his lie (which implies in a way that I give him reason, isn't it?), be fine with the old PC (I don't really mind the PC, it wasn't and won't be my day-to-day computer), and do not say anything about what he did (which I find serious enough for it to be reported).
I can't see any legitimate reason he may have to exchange the asset ID sticker of computers, one illegitimate reason is to obtain a computer with better hardware than he originally had and doing so without having to go through the whole procurement process of upgrading one's computer.
Honestly at some point, given the straightforwardness of my colleague to claim the computer as his, I questioned my sanity in this incident. I didn't have any tangible proof about anything, I was only certain about my computer's brand. My memory didn't fail. The computer in question (the one, mine, but with the wrong asset sticker) was passed on to me by an ex-employee when he left the company (a common practice here). I've contacted him and challenged him to try to remember his ex-computer's brand. Bingo! He did clearly remember, and it is indeed the one my colleague took away claiming it's his.