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Former Montco cop jailed for using informants to buy drugs

The Mercury,
BYLINE: Carl Hessler Jr.,
Link to Article

Hatboro, PA

NORRISTOWN – A former Hatboro detective is headed to jail, finding himself on the other end of the law for stealing cash and guns from an evidence locker and using informants to buy him drugs under the guise of an “undercover drug investigation.”

John Becker, 43, a former detective sergeant in Hatboro, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court on Friday to 11½ to 23 months of court supervision, the first 15 days in jail to be followed by 11 months of house arrest, after he pleaded guilty to charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, possession of a controlled substance and official oppression in connection with incidents that occurred between December 2009 and January 2011 – crimes fueled by his addiction to prescription painkillers.

Judge Garrett D. Page, calling Becker’s conduct “incredibly bizarre,” ordered Becker to complete seven years’ probation and 250 hours of community service after he’s paroled from jail. Becker must pay $21,006 in restitution to cover the cost of things that went missing from the Hatboro Police Department’s evidence locker, including $18,186 in cash and a watch valued at about $2,700.

“That’s not how a police officer works. That’s not acceptable to this court,” Page told Becker, formerly of Horsham and most recently of King of Prussia.

The investigation revealed that 10 guns went missing from the evidence locker, some of which Becker, who was the evidence custodian, pawned to get cash, presumably to purchase drugs. Nine of the guns were eventually recovered but one, a 12-gauge shotgun, is still on the streets.

“It may be loaded right now, ready to be used,” said Page, who ordered Becker, a father of three, to report to jail on Dec. 26 to begin serving the initial 15-day jail stint.

Becker, a 16-year veteran of the Hatboro Police Department who was suspended in March 2011 while under investigation, wept uncontrollably as he addressed his crimes and begged for mercy, hoping for a probationary sentence.

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