More than $13,000 missing from Petersburg police evidence room

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The Petersburg police Department is investigating after it was determined that $13,356 is missing from an evidence room.

The department started the investigation in August. Even though the money is still unaccounted for, the department wrote in a statement that, “at this point it appears to be procedural and clerical issues rather than criminal.”

Many citizens are wondering how could such a large sum of money disappear from the department’s evidence room.

“It’s a lot of money when you look at the fact that that place of all places, things like that shouldn’t be happening,” said James Whitaker a Petersburg resident. “You would think something like that wouldn’t happen in a small city like this, but I guess it does.”

The department says it could just be a clerical error where officers weren’t properly documenting what’s coming in and what’s going out of the room, but gathering those answers is part of the investigation. A department spokesperson says there were cameras in the evidence room, but there were also blind spots.

“You could see it coming in but then the evidence goes to a shoot and so there are several different areas where the evidence could end up in so not all of these cameras we actually had sight of,” said Esther Hyatt, the spokesperson for the department. “So now we have cameras so that we have a much broader spectrum of any movement that happens there.”

The city says even though some officers have been reassigned; at this point, no current or former officers are being investigated in connection to this case.

Hyatt says the internal investigation should be complete soon, and at that point, it will be determined if an outside source needs to come into the city and conduct a separate investigation.

In the meantime, the department wrote that it will continue “to implement measures to improve evidence and property procedures in its detective division.”

Chief of police John Dixon, III also wrote “Petersburg police commits itself to transparency and accountability. We work very hard to ensure the integrity of our officers. Our aim has always been to provide the best service to our residents, visitors and businesses.”

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