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Police Officer Accused of Stealing From Evidence Room

Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.,
Dalton, PA

A part-time police officer in Lackawanna County is on the other side of the law.

Joseph McCullon is accused of stealing marijuana from a police evidence room.

McCullon is now suspended without pay from his position in the Dalton Police Department.

According to court papers, in interviews, the officer admitted to a past substance abuse problem saying working too much had caught up with him and the marijuana helped him "chill out."

The 34-year-old has been charged with theft and tampering with evidence, among other charges.

"It's heart-breaking because you see, again, a police officer that makes a mistake that shows other police officers in a bad light," Deputy District Attorney Shane Scanlon said.

Investigators think McCullon may have gone into the Dalton police evidence room two times in about a week in late November.

On the first time, detectives believe he used clothing to cover a camera that watches the evidence room for roughly nine minutes.

The second time, the camera caught McCullon going into the closet, coming out and putting something in his back pocket.

"I'm amazed. I'm surprised. I really am," Jeff Klinkel of Dalton said.

News of the arrest has spread quickly in this normally otherwise quiet community.

"I think he's a good guy but what can I say? He should not have done that obviously," Klinkel said.

Residents say the arrest shows the addictive nature of drugs and they hope a strong message is sent if the facts turn out to be true.

"They take some poor slob who steals a loaf of bread and they throw him in the slammer for two years. You have some guy selling dope and they give him 90 days," Jerry Alberts of Dalton said.

Investigators were able to determine marijuana was taken from two pending cases by weighing the pot.

Detectives also say McCullon admitted to the theft in interviews.

"You can take it for what it's worth, signs of desperation or just really someone who is not thinking clearly," Scanlon said.

McCullon had worked for the Dalton Police Department for the last year and a-half.

He is currently free on unsecured bail.

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