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Former evidence custodian gets six months for theft

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Fort Benning, GA

A former evidence custodian with the military police was sentenced last week to six months in federal prison for stealing about $1,300 that had been recovered in connection with a robbery on Fort Benning.

Joseph M. Bryan III, 44, pleaded guilty this summer to one count of conversion by a federal employee. U.S. District Court Judge Clay D. Land sentenced Bryan to two years supervised release after his prison term, and he also ordered him to pay $1,390 restitution, according to court documents.

Bryan wasn't required to pay a fine, but the judge did require he participate in a mental health program. Bryan's defense attorney, David Roberts, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on the sentence.

The theft was discovered last December after investigators arrested a suspect in connection with a robbery and recovered the stolen cash. As evidence custodian, Bryan had been responsible for receiving evidence, marking and storing it, maintaining the chain of custody and destroying or returning items to their rightful owner after the disposition of a case.

Authorities discovered the funds were missing after the robbery victim's family sought to recover the stolen money from evidence. Bryan's supervisor asked him to produce the money or show documentation proving where the money was being stored.

Bryan was unable to comply with either request, and he later admitted to the theft during an interview with the FBI, citing financial hardship.

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