Police Officer charged in connection with evidence theft

NorthJersey.com, northjersey.com, Neighbor News (Denville Edition)
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Denville Township, NJ

Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq., announced on Oct. 27 that Denville Police Officer Eugene Blood, 38, had been charge with official misconduct and other criminal offenses.

According to a statement released by the prosecutor's office, in April 2011, Denville Lt. Paul Nigro contacted the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Professional Standards Unit to report that he suspected that someone was tampering with the Police Department's evidence room.

The investigation, which was jointly conducted between the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Professional Standards Unit and Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) and the Denville Township Police Department, alleges that Officer Blood broke into the Denville Township Police Department's evidence room and allegedly stole controlled dangerous substances that were in evidence.

The investigation, reports say, also included the assignment of a member of the Professional Standards Unit to the police department for a four month period.

The list of charges against Officer Blood include two counts of official misconduct, third degree charge of burglary and attempted burglary, theft of controlled dangerous substances, attempted theft of controlled dangerous substances and criminal mischief.

"We immediately brought forward this matter as soon as we identified that we had an issue," said Chief Christopher Wagner. "I am extremely disappointed in the actions of this one officer."

Officer Blood was hired by the Denville Township Police Department on January of 2003 and had served in the department's patrol division and in the Detective Bureau and Police Department Evidence Custodian.

"I do, however, stand by all of the other fine officers of the Denville Township Police Department who wear the uniform with pride and go out each and every day to serve the residents of Denville Township with honor and integrity," Chief Wagner said. "Officer Blood has been suspended without pay from the Denville Township Police Department since the end of August 2011."

Prosecutor Bianchi also commended Chief Christopher Wagner and Lt. Paul Nigro for immediately bringing the situation to the attention of the Professional Standards Unit.

"These allegations are very serious in and of themselves, as well as the fact that it compromised numerous criminal prosecutions," said Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. "The Morris County Prosecutor's Office and the Denville Township Police Department have spent the past four months examining every piece of evidence on every case in the Denville Township Police Department's evidence room to determine what cases have been compromised. On cases that may have been compromised in Superior Court, this office is in the process of notifying all affected defendants and/or their attorneys of the investigation. The same will occur in Municipal Court, as well."

Bianchi also said that the "matter is limited to this one officer, and is by no means a reflection of the Denville Township Police Department. Chief Wagner and Lieutenant Nigro have been involved in every aspect of this investigation. They have professionally and admirably represented the otherwise fine officers of the Denville Township Police Department."

Officer Blood will be scheduled to appear for his first appearance for arraignment.

Despite these pending charges every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt following a jury trial at which the defendant has all of his or her rights guaranteed by the U.S. and New Jersey Constitution and relevant state law.

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