Investigation Results in the Arrest of Three Port St. Lucie Police Evidence Technicians
Port St. Lucie– Port St. Lucie Police Evidence Technicians Thomas LaBelle Jr., Vernal Taylor, and Jeffrey Hunter were arrested on warrants approved on June 12, 2019 following an investigation. Labelle and Taylor were charged with Grand Theft and Organized Scheme to Defraud and Hunter was charged with Grand Theft. All three employees were placed on Administrative Leave. This was during the course of the investigation after accusations of improper disposal of evidence were brought to the attention of supervisors on May 8, 2019.
Each of the employees were involved in improperly disposing of evidence. They were either converting it to their own personal use or offering it for sale when it should have been either returned to the owners or destroyed pursuant to Florida State Statute 705.105. The items involved property such as pellet guns, Magazines for Firearms, tools, sporting equipment, electric toothbrushes, razors, and other household items. All of the items involved were from cases which had been closed and the evidence was ready for disposal. None of the items were related to any active criminal investigations.
All three individuals have been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the conclusion of an internal investigation.
A press conference will be held at the Port St. Lucie Police Department on June 14, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the investigation.