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Steelton police officer charged for allegedly taking money from evidence room

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/23/19

A former Steelton police officer has been charged after an investigation determined that he had stolen money from the department evidence room.

Scott Rupert, 47, of the 1100 block of Newberry Road …

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Steelton police officer charged for allegedly taking money from evidence room

Posted

A former Steelton police officer has been charged after an investigation determined that he had stolen money from the department evidence room.

Scott Rupert, 47, of the 1100 block of Newberry Road in Londonderry Township, is to be arraigned in Dauphin County Court on March 15 on one misdemeanor charge of theft by unlawful taking/moveable property.

Rupert on Jan. 18 waived a preliminary hearing on the charge before District Judge David Judy. He was released on his own recognizance.

According to a criminal complaint filed by investigators with the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office on Jan. 18, Rupert stole money from the Steelton Police Department evidence room during the time period from Aug. 19, 2009 until “on or about” Feb. 20, 2017.

The total amount of money stolen by Rupert was valued at $1,000 “more or less,” according to the complaint.

Steelton Police Chief Anthony Minium referred questions beyond what is stated in the public criminal complaint — such as exactly how much money Rupert took, and the frequency that the thefts occurred over the time period, to the DA’s office. He would also not comment on why Rupert stole the money.

The investigation was prompted by an audit that Steelton police did of the evidence room. The audit determined that money was missing, but that otherwise all narcotics and any other items in the evidence room had been accounted for, Minium told the Press & Journal.

The audit was completed in early August 2018, Minium said, and the borough following internal consultations referred the case to the DA’s office in November, according to the complaint.

Rupert was first hired by the Steelton Police Department in 2003 and was brought on full-time in March 2005, Minium said.

Toward the end of 2007, Rupert was given the added duty of being the evidence technician for his platoon, giving him “regular access” to the department evidence room and evidence computer — both of which are not accessible to other members of the Steelton Police Department, according to the complaint.

An examination of department evidence computer user history by investigators with the DA’s office identified Rupert as being the officer who last handled the missing money, according to the complaint.

Rupert and all other department evidence technicians were interviewed by the DA’s office as part of the investigation. Rupert admitted to the investigators that he took the money, according to the complaint.

Rupert had been placed on administrative leave status shortly before Christmas, Minium said. He resigned from the department Jan. 5.

“We lost public trust through this” that the Steelton Police Department will have to regain, Minium said.

However, he pointed out that the department took the initiative to request the outside investigation, after the loss of money was discovered through the internal audit.

“This is something we did ourselves. Most departments don’t audit their evidence every year,” Minium said. “We were policing ourselves.”

The department has also taken steps to try and prevent evidence room thefts from occurring again. Surveillance cameras were installed in the evidence room the same day that the department completed its internal audit, Minium said.

Policies and procedures have also been changed. Now, no money can be touched in the evidence room without two people being present, Minium said. One person has the key and the other person has the combination.

Minium said Rupert’s case is more difficult because he considers Rupert “a personal friend.”

However, “he broke the trust,” the chief said. “They can’t have an officer taking money from the force. He has to be held accountable for his actions.”