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Former post evidence custodian admits to stealing cash

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Fort Benning, GA

A military police evidence custodian accused of stealing $1,300 in cash from his job pleaded guilty Wednesday to the charge, saying he needed the money for bills, federal authorities said.

Joseph M. Bryan III, 44, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on a count of conversion by a federal employee. He also faces a maximum $250,000 fine for taking money intended as evidence in a robbery.

Bryan remains out on bond pending his November sentencing.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Crawford Seals, Bryan was an evidence custodian on Fort Benning when someone was robbed in October of $1,300. The suspect was ultimately caught and the money recovered. The cash was then delivered to Bryan, who had control over evidence in criminal cases.

Part of Bryan’s job was to collect, catalogue and store evidence. He also returned evidence once a particular case was over, Seals said.

In January, post authorities were asked to return the money. An officer then approached Bryan and requested the cash or a document detailing its location. “The defendant was unable to comply with either of the requests,” Seals said.

Agents with the FBI interviewed Bryan in January.

“The defendant admitted he had taken (the person’s) money from the evidence room because he had financial hardships and needed to pay bills,” Seals said.

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