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Trial set for former Edmond police officer accused of theft

The Oklahoman, NewsOK.com newsok.com
BYLINE: TIM WILLERT
Link to Article

Edmond, OK

Oklahoma authorities have accused the former police officer of taking $8,000 that had been placed in evidence during a drug investigation.

2011-10-26_Trial set for former Edmond police officer_01
BENJAMIN NORTHCUTT: Benjamin C. Northcutt, 35, former Edmond police officer arrested in connection with the theft of $8,000 in evidence money ORG XMIT: 1104142233544841

A judge has ordered a former Edmond police officer to stand trial on a charge that he stole $8,000 from an evidence locker.

Benjamin C. Northcutt, 36, is charged in Oklahoma County District Court with grand larceny in the alleged theft of money from the Edmond Police Department on Aug. 11.

After hearing testimony Tuesday from several witnesses, Oklahoma County Special Judge D. Fred Doak determined there was enough probable cause to send Northcutt to trial even though he called the circumstantial evidence against him “thin.”

The $8,000 was confiscated during a drug investigation Aug. 10, at 2608 Windhill Road. Northcutt was in the report room when the money was counted and packaged before it was placed in an evidence locker, according to court records.

A police investigator testified Tuesday during Northcutt's preliminary hearing that the former officer can be seen on video 14 times, entering and exiting the report room where the money was stored.

Edmond police Sgt. Tom Custer said Northcutt looked at the camera on each occasion and up and down a hallway, actions he called “suspicious.”

On cross-examination, Custer said the cameras were positioned outside the report room and that he never saw Northcutt take any money.

Custer testified that only two officers were in that report room after the money was placed in the locker.

“Only one knew the money existed in the locker,” Custer said, “and that was Northcutt.”

The police investigator testified that Northcutt had “money troubles” and his bank account had been closed.

Northcutt attorney Scott Adams argued there is “absolutely no evidence” that his client took the money.

“If there's ever been a case where there is no probable cause, this is it,” Adams said.

Northcutt, a former patrol officer, was fired March 21. He began work at the police department Dec. 13, 2004, said Anita Breen, Edmond human resource director.

Northcutt is free on bond.

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