A Charleroi police officer has been suspended during a criminal investigation, Channel 11 has learned.
The Charleroi solicitor sent an email saying that Officer William Gardner is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police.
“Officer Gardner was placed on administrative leave this past Monday, and will remain on leave as the investigation and filing of criminal charges by the State Police progresses,” the statement said.
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State police got involved back in January after an overdose death in Perryopolis after searching the victims phone, they say they found a number that traced back to Gardner.
Text messages exchanged between the two showed Gardner “was purchasing prescription medication from the victim on a routine basis,” according to a criminal complaint.
But the investigation didn’t end there.
Troopers set up surveillance on Gardner in March and watched as he responded to a report about a stolen vehicle.
Police said as he was doing inventory on the vehicle, and claim he stole evidence of OxyContin pills and $47 in cash.
When police questioned Gardner, he allegedly told them he threw the pills away and didn’t know what happened to the cash.
We reached out to the district’s attorney office to see if there is any further investigation into Gardner’s behavior on the job, but we didn’t hear back.
The department’s solicitor says Gardner will remain on administrative leave until the investigation progresses.
Gardner was arraigned Monday morning. He is free on $5,000 unsecured bail.
He is facing five charges including tampering with evidence.
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