BYLINE: Gina Damron, Free Press Staff Writer
East Pontiac, MI
The Troy Police Department is conducting an internal investigation into how $40,000 in drug forfeiture funds disappeared from a locked safe sometime between 2005 and January, when the money was discovered missing.
“It’s either missing, misplaced, at best,” Capt. Gerry Scherlinck said today. “At worse, it’s been stolen.”
He said the safe, which generally only two high-ranking command officers would have access to, was opened in January, in part, so its contents could be audited for the first time since 2005.
But the cash — used to buy drugs in narcotics and special investigations — was gone.
After checking to make sure the money wasn’t misplaced in the department, taken out for use or deposited in a city account, the department contacted the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the missing cash.
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe could not immediately be reached for comment.
But Scherlinck said the sheriff’s office, which conducted its initial investigation within about two months of the discovery, concluded “the whereabouts of the money or the identity of the persons who last had contact with it remains unknown.”
He said the criminal investigation also cleared all current Police Department employees who had access to the safe during that time period of any wrongdoing.
Scherlinck wouldn’t comment on whether any former police employees had access to the safe.
He said the safe is in a limited access area, but it’s “not exclusive to Police Department employees.”
Scherlinck said that, in light of this incident, the department has started keeping less money in the department and has ordered additional audits on the funds.
“It’s an embarrassment,” he said. “And we’ve taken steps to make sure that never happens again.”
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