Steelton Police Chief Anthony Minium tells us former officer Scott Rupert was a friend.
They worked together at the Steelton Police Department for well over a decade, which he says makes this recent discovery that much harder.
“At some point as a police officer, you have to trust your partner. You have to trust the people that you hire. And unfortunately in this situation, that trust was broken,” said Minium.
Rupert is charged with theft by unlawful taking, after an audit of the entire agency led to the discovery of missing inventory in the evidence room.
Chief Minium says they found a number of discrepancies — all pointing to Rupert.
“We believe that these discrepancies were criminal in nature. Therefore, I immediately notified the honorable Mayor Maria Marcenko. Together we contacted the criminal investigation division of the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office,” said Minium.
Rupert worked as a custodian in the evidence room for about 10 of the 14 years he was employed at the department.
Court documents allege Rupert stole about $1,000 between 2009 and 2017, and Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo tells us he also stole gift cards.
“Because this one person was entrusted in this position, he gained access that nobody else would have access to. That’s why other officers are not in question here,” said Minium.
Chief Minium assures the public that the evidence inventory is now accurate and up to date, and that no cases were impacted by the theft.
He does, though, understand it will take time to rebuild trust within the community.
“We’ve been working together to get through this. We understand that it is going to be challenging, that our trust is going to be broken for a while because of one person’s actions, but we accept that challenge and we are going to move forward. We have an excellent department. The things we need to focus on is that we found this. This is something that we did. We upped our game to be more transparent and more professional, and because of that, we found the error,” said Minium.
Moving forward, Chief Minium says he plans to continue yearly audits of all inventory, along with random checks throughout the year.
He also says the department has added heightened security measures to the evidence room, such as security cameras, an entrance alert system, and higher accountability.
“Right now we have a safe that has a key and a combination, and you need to have two officers present. One knows the safe combination and the other has the key, so it takes two people the handle any money,” said Minium.
Theft by unlawful taking is a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $15,000 fine.
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo tells us he believes Rupert will not lose his pension.