Evidence room investigation ends

HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR) – Problems, yes. Criminal misconduct, no. Virginia State Police announced Monday it had concluded its five-year investigation into the Hopewell Police Department’s evidence room and that no charges would be filed.

“This has been a black eye on the police department for too long of a time and I am glad that we have put this matter to rest,” said Hopewell Commonwealth’s Attorney Richard Newman in a statement.

According to a press release from Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Thomas Molnar, the investigation revealed many policy and procedural problems when it came to the  storage, maintenance, security and disposal police evidence.

Molnar said investigators identified 122 missing or misplaced items from 96 separate cases that ranged from 1989 to 2005.

Police said in all but one of those cases, they found no criminal intent.

In one case, the disappearance of $55 cash from the evidence room,  the police officer involved no longer worked in the department and could not be prosecuted because the crime’s statue of limitations expired in 2006.

“I want to assure the citizens of Hopewell and the judicial system that the Police Department now has a sound policy, state of the art property and evidence tracking computer system, enhanced security, and accountability that has corrected past problems and will prevent any further issues with property and evidence,” said Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane. “The property and evidence room problems have been corrected and we are moving forward with an aggressive agenda to become a Virginia State Accredited Agency”.

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