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Evidence clerk charged with stealing cash

Culpeper, VA

A former Culpeper Police Department civilian employee was arrested Tuesday, accused of stealing money from a wallet police were holding as unclaimed property. RP, 41, of the 19000 block of York Road in Stevensburg, is charged with felony money laundering and embezzlement while serving as a government employee. He is accused of stealing $300, according to town spokesman Wally Bunker.

RP had been the department’s property and evidence custodian since April 2005 but resigned in May. His resignation was not connected to Tuesday’s charges, said Capt. Ricky Pinksaw.

The alleged crime came to light May 12, said Bunker, when another officer was temporarily placed in charge of the property and evidence section until the department hired a new property custodian. Pinksaw said it is department policy to conduct an audit when the property and evidence custodian’s position is vacated.

While conducting an audit, Bunker said, the officer noticed a wallet in an unsealed bag on the desk in RP’ former office. The office is not located in the secured room where evidence is stored.

“The result of the audit was that $300 was missing from property,” Pinksaw said.

Bunker said records indicate the wallet, which contained $304 in cash, a debit card, a West Virginia identification card, and other items, was originally reported stolen in October 2006 by a 56-year-old Culpeper County woman.

In December 2006, the wallet, containing the cash and other items, was found and turned in. Police said attempts to contact the owner have been unsuccessful. “This is an unfortunate incident,” Pinksaw said. “However, our mission is to protect and serve the citizens. When property comes into police custody, it should remain here in custody until it is turned over to the rightful owner. Mr. RP was entrusted to do his duty as the property and evidence custodian, and he broke the public and department’s trust.

“The department discovered the crime and thoroughly investigated it,” Pinksaw continued. “The agency took a proactive stance to bring Mr. RP to justice.” Capt. Chris Jenkins said RP is not suspected in any other wrongdoing and has cooperated with investigators. RP is free on $3,000 bond and is scheduled for arraignment in General District court on Aug. 6 at 8:30 a.m.

RP could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. A phone number listed for his residence was disconnected.

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