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City of Kawartha Lakes Police officer facing more fraud charges in theft of seized narcotics

City of Kawartha Lakes Police officer facing more fraud charges in theft of seized narcotics

May 4, 2018

A City of Kawartha Lakes Police officer was arrested last month after a criminal investigation into thefts of seized narcotics is now facing additional charges.

Det. Const. Jeff Burke has now been charged with two more counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of breach of trust, City of Kawartha Lakes Police said Thursday.

Burke had originally been arrested April 10 after a lengthy investigation. Additional evidence was uncovered since the arrest resulting in the additional charges, Det. Const. Dave Murtha stated.

Burke, a member of the force for 13 years, remains under paid suspension from duty while the charges are before the courts.

He is to appear in Ontario Court of Justice in Lindsay on May 31 on the new charges and the previous charges.

An investigation into potential misconduct under the Police Services Act is continuing.

Chief John Hagarty launched the investigation in December and called in the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent investigation.

The investigation centred around the removal of drug exhibits from the property and evidence storage area at the police station in Lindsay.

Burke was originally charged April 10 with theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and breach of trust.

There were several types of drugs involved, including prescription medications that were evidence in several investigations, some ongoing and some concluded, Hagarty told a press conference in Lindsay on April 10, Kawartha Lakes This Week reported.

Hagarty said at the press conference he immediately contacted Crown attorneys, who will determine "what exhibits have been compromised."

Evidence is properly locked up in a room that "is a very secure area," Hagarty said at the time.

It can only be accessed by three officers, including an inspector. The chief does not have a key to the room, he said.

Asked how the alleged theft was discovered, Hagarty said Burke was off duty but found in the police station when "another officer noticed and intervened."

Police conduct annual audits of evidence and the chief arranged for an additional audit following the discovery of the theft.

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