The Journal News, lohud.com
BYLINE: Will David
Port Chester, NY
trustee says: "Evidence theft occurred in July."
PORT CHESTER — An internal investigation is underway after money and drugs went missing from the Port Chester Police Department, the deputy mayor told The Journal News on Friday.
Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, also confirmed the existence of a probe into missing evidence.
He said the investigation is being done by the Port Chester police, a 64-member department.
The D.A.’s office is lending support to the investigation, including subpoenas, Chalfen said.
Lt. James N. Ladeairous, a department spokesman, said Friday the department would have no comment at this time on the matter.
Neither Police Chief Joseph M. Krzeminski nor Village Manager Christopher Steers could be reached for comment.
However, Port Chester Deputy Mayor Saverio “Sam” Terenzi, a village trustee, said his understanding from police officials is that about $27,000 was stolen along with cocaine and possibly some pills.
Terenzi said he did not know who is suspected of the theft — police or civilians.
He said the evidence had been taken in during a joint investigation by the Port Chester and county police, which now could be jeopardized.
He said the lieutenant who is in charge of the property clerk’s office — where evidence taken from suspects is stored — was on vacation for two weeks when the theft happened in early July.
The clerk’s office is a secure area off limits to most members of the force, and the department checks nightly to ensure those doors are locked, Terenzi said. The theft was discovered after an officer making a routine check found the doors unlocked.
The village Board of Trustees was not told about the theft until mid-July, Terenzi said.
Terenzi, who has been critical of the department, said the situation illustrates a lack of “controls” in the police force.
“My grandmother could have gone down there and stolen something,” Terenzi said. He said he was annoyed by the silence about the situation.
“You can’t get a straight answer from anybody,” Terenzi said of the police.
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