Former Yuma police officer charged

Yuma Sun, yumasun.com
BYLINE: JAMES GILBERT, SUN STAFF WRITER,

Yuma, AZ

A former Yuma police officer remains behind bars, charged for allegedly stealing nearly $11,000 in cash from evidence storage to support an addiction to prescription drugs.

A felony complaint was filed Thursday in Yuma Justice Court against Officer Geoffrey Michael Presco charging him with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

Presco was arraigned before Yuma Justice of the Peace David Cooper, who ordered his bond remain at $55,265.

In addition to assigning the Yuma County Public Defender's Office to represent him, Judge Cooper also set Presco's next court date, a preliminary hearing, for June 19 at 4 p.m.

Yuma Police Chief Jerry Geier said that Presco was officially terminated from the Yuma Police Department on Thursday.

In his rookie year on the force, Presco had worked the overnight shift from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and was selected as YPD's 2008 Patrol Officer of the Year.

Presco was arrested Monday on suspicion of one count of theft for allegedly taking the money, which was evidence from a case he was handling.

According to Yuma police, an investigation into the missing evidence began Monday after another police department employee who was following up on the case discovered the money and evidence were missing.

The investigation, police said, revealed the Presco had checked out the evidence from storage on Feb. 23 for a supposed court proceeding, but never returned it.

Presco had seized nearly $11,000 in cash, drug paraphernalia and some clothing during an investigation he was involved in sometime in late 2008, which he placed into evidence.

Police then contacted Presco, who admitted he had the evidence but had not returned it yet.

As part of the investigation, police were sent to Presco's home to retrieve the evidence, only to be given bags of evidence, but no money.

Presco later confessed to spending the money to support his drug habit, according to police.

Presco is alleged to be addicted to the prescription drug Oxycontin, which has a number of street names.

He was interviewed and later booked into the Yuma County Adult Detention Facility.

Geier said Tuesday during a news conference announcing the officer's arrest that the department will review its evidence procedure and every case Presco has been involved with.

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