Broward County

‘Gross mismanagement’ led to more than $100K missing from Hollywood’s evidence room

This is a picture of the evidence locker in 2014 used in an exhibit submitted to the inspector general’s office by Hollywood.
This is a picture of the evidence locker in 2014 used in an exhibit submitted to the inspector general’s office by Hollywood.

More than $100,000 in cash and nearly 1,100 pills went missing from the Hollywood Police Department's evidence room because of “gross mismanagement,” a Broward Inspector General found.

“The lack of oversight and accountability facilitated the theft of $137,609 and 1,096 pills from the Hollywood Police Department’s custody prior to January 2012,” Inspector John Scott wrote in the final report on the matter, released Tuesday by the Broward Office of the Inspector General.

But the report, which did not hold anyone criminally liable because of a lack of evidence, acknowledged that the department has made significant progress over the years by instituting new techniques to properly secure the locker, which holds money, drugs and other evidence-related materials.

Those improvements include:

▪ Buying a “drug terminator device” to destroy more than 140 pounds of drugs.

▪ Reducing the number of documents kept in the evidence room.

▪ Transferring old documents to the records room.

▪ Donating items that have been cleared to a local charity.

▪ Purging items that are not needed.

The report details interviews with several former and current employees during the course of the investigation including Chad Wagner, who was chief from 2008 to 2013; Louis Granteed, who was assistant chief from 2012 to 2015; Maj. Forrest Jeffries, who has been with the department for more than 28 years; Allen Siegel, a major who retired in 2012; and John Nevins, who oversaw the evidence locker and retired in 2012.

On Tuesday, Hollywood police chief Tomas Sanchez reacted to the report in a statement.

“In an effort to be transparent, the Hollywood Police Department has taken exhaustive steps with outside agencies to fully conduct investigations,” he said. “The Hollywood Police Department has already taken numerous measures to safeguard its Property and Evidence Unit while continuing to identify additional ways to improve policies and procedures.”

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