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FDLE: Ormond evidence tech cleared in theft

The Daytona Beach Jews Journal,
Link to Article

Ormond Beach, FL

ORMOND BEACH — State investigators have dropped their investigation into allegations of mismanagement and theft of cash by Ormond Beach police evidence technician Robert Haller.

A letter obtained by The News-Journal from Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Scott Peterka said he concluded “there is insufficient evidence to prove either grand theft or official misconduct on the part of Robert Haller."

“It's good to know there is no criminal misconduct going on back there,” Ormond Police Chief Henry Osterkamp said Friday.

Haller, who was a technician for 22 years before his resignation in August 2010, was suspected of criminal activity after investigators found a large manila envelope filled with cash they claimed Haller had stashed in the ceiling of the evidence room, according to a report released earlier this year.

Officials also found in a smaller room, where Haller often worked, several envelopes containing money, totaling $3,700. Haller, who was first assigned to the evidence room in 1988, wrote a note he left behind that volunteer Sam Easterbrook was to blame for hiding the money stashed in the envelopes.

“Found this in Sam's desk when he left, knew he had some money, did not know it was this. Did not know how to tell you,” The problems in the evidence room were cited as one of the reasons the police department was denied reaccreditation.

Haller could not be reached for comment Friday. There are no other pending investigations, Osterkamp said.

After being named interim chief in 2010, Osterkamp said he ordered an audit of the room. The inventory found evidence dating back to the 1970s and more than 5 tons of drugs, guns and unclaimed property that should have been destroyed.

“We had never done a full-blown audit, and that's what needed to be done,” he said, adding the area had only been minimally inspected.

Haller's mismanagement of property as well as allegations against a cleaning-crew employee for stealing $3,000 and heroin used for training dogs from the evidence section, led to the city's police department being denied reaccreditation.

Since then Osterkamp said the department has taken what he believes are necessary measures to protect the further integrity of the evidence room including enhanced security features, additional inspections and the hiring of two new evidence technicians.

The chief said the agency will be up for reaccreditation in February 2014.

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