Court date set in missing-evidence case

The Sun (Yuma, Arizona)
BYLINE: James Gilbert, The Sun

Yuma, AZ

Sep. 9--The former Yuma police officer accused of stealing nearly $11,000 in cash from evidence storage to support an addiction to prescription drugs will appear in court early next month.

According to Chief Criminal Deputy County Attorney Roger Nelson of the Yuma County Attorney's Office, a final trial management conference (FTMC) for Geoffrey Michael Presco has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 2.

"Normally that is when a case goes change of plea or a trial date is set," Nelson said. "No plea has been offered yet."

Presco's FTMC, which was before Superior Court Judge Larry Kenworthy, had previously been set for Sept. 4, but it was postponed and rescheduled for the October date.

Presco was arrested in June on suspicion of one count of theft for allegedly taking the money, which was evidence from a case he was handling.

A felony complaint was then filed against Presco in June in Yuma Justice Court charging him with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

However, Nelson said when his office presented Presco's case to the grand jury the following month, it came back with additional charges.

Presco is now facing five felony charges, including theft-unauthorized use of services or property, possession or use of narcotic drugs, possession or use of a dangerous drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Presco, who was officially terminated from the Yuma Police Department, remains out of custody after posting a $55,265 bond.

In his rookie year on the force, Presco had worked the overnight shift from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and was selected as YPD's 2008 Patrol Officer of the Year.

According to Yuma police, an investigation into the missing evidence began after another police department employee who was following up on the case discovered the money and evidence were missing.

The investigation, police said, revealed the Presco had checked out the evidence from storage on Feb. 23 for a supposed court proceeding, but never returned it.

Presco had seized nearly $11,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia and some clothing during an investigation he was involved in sometime in late 2008, which he placed into evidence.

Police then contacted Presco, who admitted he had the evidence but had not returned it yet.

As part of the investigation, police were sent to Presco's home to retrieve the evidence, only to be given bags of evidence, but no money.

Presco later confessed to spending the money to support his drug habit, according to police. Presco is alleged to be addicted to the prescription drug Oxycontin, which has a number of street names.

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