337 firearms (plus money & drugs) MISSING from police evidence rooms!


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Green Lantern
June 7, 2007, 06:33 PM
Makes me think of those poor altruists that sell off guns at a minute fraction of their actual value at police "buy-backs" under the idea that the guns will be guaranteed to be kept "off the street!" :what:

http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770606145&theme=SHERIFFAUDIT


Asheville – State authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the handling of evidence under the administration of former Sheriff Bobby Medford after a county audit showed missing money, drugs and firearms.

The processing and storage of property and evidence seized by deputies during Medford’s 12-year tenure were so faulty that convictions and future court cases could be compromised, according to a copy of the audit obtained by the Citizen-Times.

“It was glaringly mismanaged,” said Sonia Burgin, who led the county audit, which is a standard procedure when a new sheriff takes office. “This is evidence that could control someone’s fate or some victim out there who needed justice.”

Medford declined to comment when reached at his Weaverville home. He referred questions to County Manager Wanda Greene.

District Attorney Ron Moore said he requested the State Bureau of Investigation probe three or four weeks ago after reviewing audit.

Among the findings:

• $217,769 could not be accounted for or proved to have been turned over to the appropriate state or federal agency. Evidence bags containing cash were found on the floor and mixed with other items. Loose cash was found on the floor and on shelves.

• 223 handguns and 114 rifles and shotguns could not be located, proved to have been destroyed or returned to their owner by court order.

• Marijuana, cocaine, crack and pills listed on 1,318 evidence entry sheets could not be located or proved to have been destroyed by court order. Large blocks of marijuana were found on shelves with no identification markings or case numbers. Bags containing drugs were open with some or all of the contents missing.

• 16 rape kits were not labeled with name, bar code number or case number to link the assaults to the victims.

• Evidence bags with contents missing, evidence bags containing items with no identification numbers, evidence with entry sheets attached that were never entered into the inventory database and many loose evidence items with no identifying numbers.
Problems with evidence quickly apparent

Auditors started work in November after Medford lost the election and before Van Duncan took office. Serious problems were apparent from the beginning in how evidence and property were managed, Burgin said.

About 75 percent of the evidence stored in the rooms was in such poor condition that the integrity of the evidence was in doubt, she said.

Burgin said the tainted evidence ranged in age from the early days of the Medford administration right up until he left office on Dec. 4.

She said she couldn’t release documentation supporting the audit without authorization by the district attorney or county attorney. Moore said he would advise against releasing the information because of the pending criminal investigation.

“The inventory revealed major chain-of-custody issues that brought into question the integrity of all physical evidence stored in the evidence rooms,” the audit states. “All of these issues and subsequent findings arose as a result of poor management, poor organizational skills and failure to maintain a clear chain of custody audit trail.”

Moore said the results of the SBI investigation would determine whether he proceeds with criminal charges, but he wouldn’t speculate on what those charges could be.

“I’m concerned,” he said. “The handling of the drugs and the money and the guns is what concerns me. Those are things that need to be completely accounted for.”

Greene said transition audits are standard procedure when there is a change in administrations of sheriffs and other elected officials.

“Basically it’s to tell the incoming sheriff or elected officials that the assets are intact,” Greene said.

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Deanimator
June 7, 2007, 09:29 PM
The Chicago PD has an especially juicy history in this regard.

In fact in a current discussion of the FN 5.7 pistol on a Chicago cop's blog, a COP brought up police thefts from evidence rooms as justification for banning the gun because the armor piercing versions of the ammunition couldn't be kept out of civilian hands!

Riktoven
June 7, 2007, 10:27 PM
OMG

Most cops bust thier ass for the job. These select few though really make it hard to be trusting of authority figures. I don't think the incompetence defence is going to work if/when charges are filed.

pacodelahoya
June 7, 2007, 10:31 PM
I would think that the BATFE and DEA should get involved also. 337 guns is a lot of guns, heck, the feds get their panties in a wad over a lesser number of honest paperwork mistakes when it comes to gun dealers.:scrutiny:

Don Gwinn
June 8, 2007, 12:08 AM
Springfield, IL's evidence room lost millions in (mostly) drugs years back. I've never seen it proven (but never heard anyone claim it wasn't true) that the last police chief in Springfield (Kliment) was in charge of the evidence room when that fiasco took place (as a sergeant.)

It doesn't take more than a few greedy criminals to destroy the cases an entire department builds.

DWARREN123
June 8, 2007, 02:19 AM
Sounds like some one was getting ready for retirement!

kd7nqb
June 8, 2007, 02:27 AM
I hate to imply coruption but I am willing to bet that somewhere a few cops (A few out of a LOT) and a couple of evidence clerks have some pretty nice collections at discount prices.

eric_t12
June 8, 2007, 04:24 AM
wow... just wow.

some more proof that you can't stop a criminal no matter how well something is locked up, or where it is, or who's in charge of it, right?

romma
June 8, 2007, 08:28 AM
Wait! Shouldn't they lose they're right to bear arms? In Ct now, it may soon be that way for the citizens, I hope there is no exemtpion for the police, just to highlight how silly a law is making someone into a criminal because someone else is a criminal...

Green Lantern
June 8, 2007, 11:03 AM
Shoot - I COULD have title it better. While the article says that not all evidence is stored in ONE room, Those 337 guns have vanished from the possession of **ONE** Sheriff's department in my state!

And in all fairness, SOME of these guns may well have met their "proper" fate in being returned, or destroyed, and they were just too lazy/sloppy with the paperwork. But I just can't see that happening with ALL of them!

I highlighted the rape kits because, while not quite 2A-related, it is TOTALLY unacceptable to handle evidence such as THAT in such a sloppy, unprofessional manner. To not only deny justice to women that were raped, but to also allow a rapist to continue to WALK FREE because you can't find the evidence against him....! :mad:

S.P.E.C.T.R.E.
June 8, 2007, 11:32 AM
I agree with Green Lantern...rape is a life-destroying crime and to let those kits be compromised is beyond unacceptable. Medford needs to have his ass thrown in jail for criminal negligence.

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