PITTSBURGH — Authorities have charged former Elizabeth Borough police Chief Tim Butler with allegedly raiding his department's evidence room for nearly all of its heroin.
The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office said that Butler allegedly confessed to a subordinate officer Dec. 7 that he was addicted to heroin, and when asked if there was any missing evidence, replied that "it was all gone."
Butler allegedly told the sergeant he became addicted to painkillers after being prescribed them for neck and back pain, according to the criminal complaint.
When Butler told the sergeant about the addiction and missing evidence, the officer contacted borough officials, who placed Butler on paid leave and seized all borough property from him, according to the complaint.
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Butler was crying at that meeting, saying "he could not believe this was happening to him," according to the complaint, and blaming the doctor who ended the painkiller prescription.
Clairton police then helped search Butler's office, where thousands of stamp bags marked as containing heroin were allegedly found empty or repackaged with other contents to appear intact, according to the complaint. Evidence envelopes containing other drugs, like marijuana, were found intact.
Butler was the sole evidence custodian, according to the complaint, and also responsible for evidence destruction.
Butler was also tasked with collecting and depositing parking meter money, and allegedly failed to deposit that money for the borough in 2017, according to the complaint. In previous years, that money totaled more than $4,000 annually.
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Butler faces two felony counts each of theft by unlawful taking and theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received; and two misdemeanor counts each of obstructing administration of the law and drug possession.
Butler was arraigned and released on non-monetary bond, according to the DA's office. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.
The DA's office said the destruction of evidence is going to affect criminal cases in Elizabeth Borough and the county.
"We do believe there are active cases that will be impacted by this arrest but we don’t believe that impact will preclude the prosecution of those cases," a spokesman said.
Mayor Barry Boucher sent Channel 11 the following statement:
"We're moving forward and we're glad the investigation is complete."
Cox Media Group