LEWISVILLE — Lewisville police responded to, investigated, and solved a couple of felony theft cases without ever leaving their headquarters building.
A Denton County grand jury indicted William Henry Hines and Nicholas Luther Rose on two counts each of felony theft and felony tampering with a government document.
Though the indictments came a few weeks ago, the crime was caught last year. Both men face arraignment separately — Rose's happens next week and Hines' comes next month.
Both men worked in the property room at Lewisville police headquarters as caretakers of evidence.
But over a three-year period, according to the indictment, Hines and Rose are accused of stealing items including tools, a knife, a camera, and thousands of dollars in cash.
Hines admitted only to taking a couple of hundred dollars, according to the probable cause affidavit. He told investigators he used it when he was short on gas money and intended to return it to the property room.
Rose told investigators he just took loose change from the evidence storage to use in vending machines at the station.
But police said their audit discovered $10,420 either stolen from evidence bags or now missing and unaccounted for between January 2007 and June 2012.
It is interesting how Lewisville police actually discovered this missing money. Both property room technicians used to be friends, according to the probable cause affidavit, but had a falling out somewhere along the way.
Nicholas Rose then complained about William Hines to their supervisor, the report states. Rose said Hines kept cash stashed around his desk. That resulted in the audit which ended with felony indictments against them both.
"If the allegations are true, there should have been some signs somewhere along the way," said Pete Schulte, a defense attorney who does not represent anyone involved with these cases.
In a letter last year, the Denton County District Attorney's office warned defense attorneys that missing evidence might jeopardize some prosecutions.
"They had to be thorough," added Schulte. "They had to — for the integrity of the criminal justice system — go back and figure out how big was their problem."
Stolen evidence belonged to at least eight Denton County cases.
Despite the thefts from inside its own department, Lewisville said it has not yet had to drop charges against anyone.
Besides filing criminal charges, Lewisville police also fired the supervisor of the property room for failing to catch the thefts.
A spokesman for the City of Lewisville said the department still has civilians working in the property room, but now a police officer is overseeing them.