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Donora police officer accused of stealing heroin confiscated during search

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WASHINGTON, Pa. - Charges have been filed against a part-time Donora police officer accused of stealing evidence, the Washington County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday.

James Johnson V, 29, of Monongahela, was charged Tuesday with acquiring possession of a controlled substance by fraud, possession of a controlled substance, theft, obstruction, tampering with evidence and misapplication of entrusted property.

According to the district attorney’s office, the charges stemmed from an investigation into the theft of 133 stamp bags of heroin that were confiscated in August during the service of a search warrant.

After reviewing video of the evidence area, prosecutors said it was determined that Johnson had taken the evidence.

When police questioned him in November, he told them he "slid it underneath his uniform bulletproof vest carrier and walked out of the station." Johnson also told officials that he had stolen the heroin “for his personal consumption.’

Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said this latest arrest proves the heroin epidemic remains a problem.

“These cases are very difficult but necessary, because we have a certain amount of trust placed in us by the public,” Vittone said.

Johnson was arraigned Tuesday and placed in the Washington County Jail before he posted a $25,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 24.