A Richmond County Sheriff’s Office investigator has been fired and arrested, accused ofstealing narcotics from the department and using them.
Investigator Patrick Thomas Kaney, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday and charged with violation of oath by a public officer, theft by taking, possession of controlled substance and tampering with evidence, according to a sheriff’s office news release. Additional charges are pending from South Carolina authorities, the release states.
An investigation by the department’s internal affairs and criminal investigation divisions discovered that Kaney took 25 Oxycodone tablets, without permission, in addition to other narcotic substances, from the narcotics division on 346 Watkins St., according to the sheriff’s office.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said another investigator noticed the tablets missing from an evidence locker.
“One of the investigators had an ongoing investigation where he conducted a search warrant and placed the oxycodone pills into an evidence locker,” he said. “When he came back to check them out, get them processed and deported, he noticed that 25 pills were missing.”
After alerting supervisors and completing an audit, to make sure the tablets weren’t accidentally misplaced, an internal investigation was conducted. Results led to Kaney, who was one of several investigators with access to the locker, Roundtree said.
“Several investigators had access to the evidence locker but he was the evidence custodian so it was not uncommon for him to transport or have access to evidence because he was one of our main people who picked up from crime lab,” he said. “So you have to identify all persons who had access to it so we have to go methodically to clear those individuals of any wrongdoing and when we got to investigator Kaney during our internal investigation, that’s when he admitted that he did have a substance abuse problem.”
“At this time, it is our belief that the narcotics taken was for personal consumption and there is no evidence at this time to believe that they were distributed to any other individuals,” the release by Sgt. Monica Belser states.
Kaney was fired today, and the sheriff’s office is continuing to investigate the incident, according to the release, adding that the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office will review the department’s policies, procedures and /or processes to minimize the chances of similar incidents occurring in the future.
Kaney started with the seriff’s office in 2006. He began as a deputy with the jail, and continued in his career as a road patrol officer and moved into investigations in 2009.
The sheriff’s office announced Wednesday the investigation without releasing details and stated today that it did so to avoid jeopardizing a concurrent investigation in South Carolina while search warrants were being secured and executed.