St. Martinville – A police clerk who looted the evidence room for items to pawn when she was short of cash pleaded guilty to felony theft and malfeasance in office last week.
Charlotte Savoy Durand, 56, is free on bond pending a sentencing hearing June 16.
Durand, who also served as a dispatcher as well as evidence custodian, was charged with taking two handguns from the evidence room and pawning them in December 2007 and with pawning a laptop computer belonging to the department in November 2008.
According to a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office in which three of five counts of the bill of information were dropped, the maximum sentence facing Durand is five years in prison.
Todd D’Albor, chief administrative officer for SMPD, said several steps have been taken to secure the evidence room, including a multiple lock system requiring two officers to gain access.
When the thefts came to light, the department hired a retired evidence technician with 30 years experience to come in and do an inventory and an audit.
SMPD also acquired a computer program designed to keep track of physical evidence. It is encrypted, tamper-proof and backed up off site, D’Albor said.