Employee investigated in Clallam Fire District 3’s missing drugs

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM — A unidentified 40-year-old man who works for Clallam County Fire District No. 3 is under investigation in the alleged theft last month of medication from the fire district’s station in Sequim, city police said.

The Police Department’s investigative information into the man, whose name has not been released, is expected to be forwarded to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office on Tuesday for a charging decision, Police Chief Bill Dickinson said Friday.

He said he declined to release the man’s name because the police investigation technically is ongoing “until the prosecutor tells us they’re satisfied with it.”

This means the deputy prosecuting attorney assigned to the case could ask investigators for more information, he said.

County Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly confirmed Friday her office had not yet received the investigative information.

“My understanding is that it’s going to be walked over to us Tuesday,” Kelly said.

Sequim police were alerted by Fire District No. 3 staff of Demerol, morphine and other narcotics found to be missing and possibly stolen from the fire station at 323 N. Fifth Ave. in Sequim in early October.

District personnel discovered a small plastic box containing medications missing from a locked cabinet in the fire station Oct. 4 and another unspecified quantity of drugs missing from a similar box Oct. 6.

Dickinson said the police investigation found that the same 40-year-old district employee likely was involved in the theft of both and that he likely acted alone.

No signs of break-in

“There were no signs of forced entry [to the fire station],” Dickinson said.

The charges recommended to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office are at least one count each of theft and possibly burglary, Dickinson said, though the charging decision is ultimately up to the prosecutor.

The man has not been arrested as Dickinson said police do not think he will try to leave the area.

“[The] subject has been cooperative and is not considered a flight risk,” Dickinson said.

He said the man told investigators he did not sell the drugs, though they have not been recovered.

When asked whether the drugs might have been used, Dickinson said, “That is an assumption on my part, that they were consumed.”

Steve Vogel, chief of Fire District No. 3, could not be reached Friday for comment on the investigation.

In an earlier interview, Vogel said the plastic box reported missing Oct. 4 was about 5 inches long, 3 inches wide and three-fourths of an inch deep.

He said the medication inside likely was worth $10 to $15 but possibly less than $10.

The box was found to be missing during a regular inventory of the station’s medication caches at the fire station.

Since the alleged thefts, surveillance cameras have been set up in the room where the medications are kept, Vogel had said.

The incidents sped up the in-progress installation of a camera system in the room where the drugs were kept, he had said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 09. 2013 5:37PM
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