Property Room News Blotter - January 2014

Drugs, money, and valuables: Put them in one place and someone will try to find a way to "borrow" a little for themselves. Unfortunately, stories about illegal activity in police departments' property and evidence rooms are all too common. Here's your latest roundup of headlines from across the United States.

Ex-Officer Accused of Stealing

January 8, 2014 - COATESVILLE, Pa. - A retired southeastern Pennsylvania police detective charged earlier in the theft of tens of thousands of dollars from a police union is facing additional charges.

Authorities in Chester County last year accused 43-year-old Gerald Pawling of Coatesville of stealing $46,000 from the Coatesville Police Benevolent Association while serving as treasurer.

Pawling, who retired from the force in 2011, allegedly wrote a series of checks from the union and athletic league bank accounts. Police say he then deposited those checks to his bank account and the account he shares with his wife. Authorities said that his wife apparently was unaware of the thefts.

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Sheriffs Evidence Rooms Employee Sent to Prison

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A former Clallam County Sheriff’s Office records specialist convicted in 2011 of stealing $8,644 from the courthouse evidence room between 2003 and 2008 was sent to state prison Friday.

Staci L. Allison, 43, sat quietly in an orange jail-issue jumpsuit as Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood vacated a stay of sentencing pending appeal that former Superior Court Judge Ken Williams had signed in December 2011.

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Ex-Sheriff's Sergeant Gets Jail Time for Theft of Drugs from Evidence Room

January 8, 2014 - PRICE, Utah - A former Carbon County sheriff's sergeant will serve jail time for taking drugs from the evidence locker at the sheriff's office without authorization.

On Monday, Judge George Harmond ordered Christopher Howard Basso to serve 30 days in jail, spend three years on probation and pay a $700 fine. Basso, 38, is also required to take part in substance abuse counseling and may only use one doctor and one pharmacy.

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Southern Tier police officer stole $15,000 from her department's evidence room

December 21, 2013 - HORNELL, NY - A Southern Tier police officer stole $15,000 from her department's evidence room -- money that had been taken into evidence from the arrest of a man on attempted murder charges, according to state police.

Jennifer Speed, 39, of Hornell, was arrested by state police on a sealed indictment warrant and served with a six-count indictment charging: third-degree grand larceny; first-degree tampering with public records; two counts of first-degree falsifying business records; and two counts of tampering with physical evidence.

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Chattanooga Police Sgt. Kevin Kincer on leave after drugs found missing from evidence room

December 18, 2013 - CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Kevin Kincer has been placed on administrative leave without pay after case evidence, including drugs, was reported missing Tuesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the case of missing evidence and alleged employee misconduct had been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“Employees who work in the property section of the police department, which includes the evidence room, discovered evidence bags that had been tampered with,” TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said in a news release.

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Drugs go missing from Baltimore Police evidence control

January 2, 2014 - BALTIMORE, Md. - Baltimore Police are investigating after drug evidence vanished Thursday from the agency's evidence control unit in police headquarters.

Capt. Eric Kowalczyk confirmed that a citizen was in the evidence unit Thursday to pick up property, and drug evidence went "missing." He would not identify the evidence or elaborate on how much was taken or how the chain of custody was broken.

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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)

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