St. George has them, Springville wants them back and a California company says it doesn't know anything about them.
After a two-month investigation, the Springville Police Department has located two missing turbo chargers, purchased in 1984 to help power the city.The units have been hard at work for St. George since 1986.
Turbo chargers are attached to generators to improve an engine's combustion, thus increasing the efficiency of the unit. Each of the cities has two generators and four turbo chargers.
"It took a lot of hound-dogging to find them," Leland Bowers, Springville's chief of police, said. "We wrote letters and spent about $700 on long-distance calls. We put nearly half of our investigators on the case.
"Of course, we only have 21/2 investigators - two full- and one part-timer.
"We thought we had traced the serial numbers to Texas, but it turned out the turbo chargers were in St. George."
This was news to St. George.
"Springville called a while back to ask for some serial numbers, but they never said the numbers matched," power superintendent Carl Jones said. "This is the first I've heard about it."
Jones said if the serial numbers match, his units probably are the ones missing from Springville. He thinks he knows what might have happened.
"St. George, Springville and Bountiful all bought used diesel generators from the Tennessee Valley Authority at the same time. We went to Tennessee to look them over, then sent them straight to IMO Delaval in Oakland to be checked for damage, brought up to current standards and modified for Utah's elevation.
"Springville and Bountiful also had the units converted to use natural gas, which required a different kind of turbo charger. I guess the company gave them new turbo chargers and gave St. George Springville's old one."
Springville wants its original turbo chargers back, or it wants payment. The used units are worth between $15,000 and $20,000 each, according to Bowers. Replacing them with new units would cost between $40,000 and $130,000, Jones said.
But Jones doesn't think St. George should have to pay.
"The units arrived in St. George intact and we haven't changed them. If there was a mixup at the factory, I think IMO Delaval should be at least 99.9 percent financially responsible."
IMO Delaval doesn't think so.
"We have no record the Springville generator had turbo chargers on it when it arrived," Jeff Berggren, sales manager, said. "Of course, we all make mistakes, so anything is possible.
"Springville wrote us a while ago, and that's what we told them, but they never wrote back. If there is a problem, we usually expect to hear from a town, not a reporter."
But Springville has turned the matter over to its city attorney, who is drafting a letter to St. George's city attorney.
"We are not saying there was theft or fraud involved. It could have been an honest mistake," Bowers said. "That's up to the legal people, in their infinite wisdom, to decide."
And finally, who has St. George's original turbo chargers?
"I have no idea," Jones said. "I guess we'll have to start our people investigating that."