|Scott Burgert, left, and Bradley Jones allegedly sneaked 48 pounds of pot out of the police station over a three-day period in January.|
Only Four Pounds Recovered
Two Alabama men who were working on renovations at the Florence Police Station are in jail after they were accused of taking 48 pounds of marijuana from the evidence locker.
Scott Raymond Burgert, 45, and Bradley Thomas Jones, 40, both of Florence, Alabama, are both charged with first-degree theft of property and trafficking marijuana, Florence Police Chief Rick Singleton said, reports Tom Smith at the Florence Times Daily.
The two men were part of a construction crew which was remodeling the first floor of the police department.
”I’ve always said I would put everything on the table (in regards to the department) — the good, the bad and the ugly,” Chief Singleton told the Times Daily. “Today is the ugly.”
The two men were putting in an exhaust fan from the evidence vault to take out “fumes” from confiscated drugs stored there, according to Singleton.
The marijuana, from a 2004 case that had been adjudicated, was scheduled for disposal, and was on a top shelf in the evidence vault.
The cannabis was in four compressed packages stored in one box, Singleton said.
The two workers had seemingly put a lot of thought into their weed-filching scheme.
“The marijuana was removed a little at a time, over a period of three days, by the two men,” Singleton claimed.
|Photo: City of Florence|
|Florence Police Chief Rick Singleton used to have 48 pounds of marijuana in the police evidence vault. Now he has just four pounds.|
”It started with a small amount,” Chief Singleton told WAFF. “They were able to get out with that small amount, got a little braver.”
He said the men were on ladders “within arm’s reach” of the marijuana.
“This is no reflection on the company these men were working for,” Singleton said. “This was their choice, but they didn’t get away with it.”
At least one police department employee was present at all times when the construction workers were in the evidence vault in the course of the project, which was completed January 31, according to Singleton.
Burgert and Jones are accused of working together to conceal what they were doing, according to Chief Singleton, who claimed they removed the marijuana by hiding it in work tools.
The theft was discovered Tuesday and an investigation was immediately started.
“Upon completion of the project, an audit was conducted at which time it was discovered that some of the evidence was missing,” Singleton said. “An investigation was launched and information was obtained that implicated the construction workers who had been working in the vault.”
The department received a tip that helped lead to the arrests, according to authorities.
“After we got information on who was believed to have been involved, we got a warrant and then executed the warrants at the residences,” Singleton said.
Burgert was taken into custody Wednesday night, and Jones was arrested early Thursday, according to police.
During a search of the two residences, about four pounds of what is believed to be the stolen marijuana was recovered.
The marijuana, because of its age and condition, only had about a $10,000 street value, according to the Lauderdale Drug Task Force. If, as seems likely, they mean all 48 pounds, they’re estimating this pot is worth just over $200 a pound.
Some of the marijuana recovered was so old it was moldy, according to investigators.
Speaking of 48 pounds, that’s how much pot is missing from the evidence vault, according to cops — but they say they only recovered four pounds.
“We do know they sold some of the drugs and we can account for about four pounds of the 48 pounds that were taken,” said Chief Singleton, reports Jerrita Patterson at WHNT.
That leaves 44 pounds of sub-standard, stale, moldy pot which is unaccounted for. If you’re in Florence and you just scored weed from a sketchy source, look at that shit to make sure you’re not smoking moldy oldies. And if you are, send in a picture of that garbage so we can run it with this story.
Singleton claimed nothing else has been found missing from the vault.
He said there was “some neglect” in what happened, and claimed “that’s been addressed” through an internal investigation.
The chief claimed new security measures, such as installing cameras inside the evidence vault, will be put in place.
“This is an unfortunate incident, but we’ve learned a lot of lessons from this and we will take actions to make sure nothing like this happens again,” the chief said.
Singleton said he was pleased police were able to catch the alleged thieves quickly, but he’s still disappointed in how the two men were able to get their hands on the drugs in the first place.
“These kind of situations in hindsight are 20/20,” said Singleton. “We can think of a dozen things we could have done to prevent this. We certainly learned some lessons about that.”
Bergert and Jones are being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center, each with $30,000 bail.