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Investigation: Inconsistencies discovered in New London Police Department’s evidence room

WTIC • A Tribune Broadcasting Station, FOXCT,
BYLINE: Katie Corrado

New London, CT

NEW LONDON — The New London Police Department is investigating inconsistencies discovered during an audit of its evidence room.

According to New London Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard, “several inconsistencies” were discovered and the New London State’s Attorney’s Office has asked Connecticut State Police to investigate.

Deputy Chief Reichard said the audit stems from a March 28 incident involving the New London Evidence Officer at an apartment on Russell Street in Griswold. Deputy Chief Reichard said the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave. He added that Connecticut State Police — the responding agency to the Town of Griswold — confiscated guns from the apartment, but that those guns were all the personal property of the officer.

According to the New London Police Department’s website, Officer Russell MacDonald is listed as the department’s evidence officer. The Griswold Tax Assessor’s Department also confirmed to Fox CT that MacDonald is an owner of the Russell Street apartment.

Jeff Robillard, MacDonald’s next-door neighbor, saw some of the police activity. “All I know is one day I was coming home, getting ready for work and there was like, 20 cops and they had vests on, snipers, guns out and everything,” said Robillard. “And they were like, coming from the back and coming from the front, and then he [MacDonald] was gone for two weeks. And he came back, and then they came back, like 30 of them again.”

Neighbor Lisa Bloomer, who lives two doors down from MacDonald, also saw the police activity. “They had a lot of them going in and going out into his house and then they started bringing like cases out and putting them in the police car,” said Bloomer. “And then a second time it was, they had the dogs over, and they had asked us — our cat is an outside cat, inside/outside cat — so they asked us to bring him in ’cause it was messing with the dog.”

Robillard also noted seeing cases. “They were bringing like, boxes of stuff out, like containers,” said Robillard. “So I’m not sure what they were rounding up, but they did, they were here all night and it was like, 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Both commented on the neighborhood reaction.

“Everyone was like, standing around watching, ya know,” said Robillard. “They had cops all the way up the street. You couldn’t really even walk around, ya know, all the way around the corner.”

“There’s a lot of kids in this project, you know, this area,” said Bloomer. “And you worry about it. Cause you don’t know what’s going on, or no one would say anything.” ?

Connecticut State Police Sgt. Shane Hassett confirmed to Fox CT that the department’s Central District Major Crime Division has been conducting an “active and ongoing” investigation into the evidence room inconsistencies for more than a month. Hassett also confirmed that a SWAT team had never been to the Russell Street apartment. He said state troopers use AR15 rifles, shotguns and .45-caliber handguns.

New London State’s Attorney Michael Regan said that no arrests have been made. Regan would not comment on the possibility of future arrests.

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