GREENSBURG, Ind. – A former police chief admitted to stealing more than $70,000 in evidence connected with criminal cases over a period of several years and was arrested after turning herself in to authorities.
Stacey L. Chasteen, 49, who served as chief of the Greensburg Police Department from 2011 to 2014, faces felony charges of official misconduct and theft in connection with the disappearance of monetary evidence from the department’s evidence room.
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by the Greensburg (Ind.) Daily News, Indiana State Police investigators believe Chasteen stole cash in order to pay gambling debts and later attempted to conceal her actions by destroying property record receipts.
An investigation began in January after Greensburg Police Department Investigations Capt. Bill Meyerrose told Interim Police Chief Brendan Bridges that he could not locate $72,945 in cash confiscated during an investigation of a local massage parlor.
GPD officers shut down the massage parlor, Right Touch Massage Therapy, and arrested its owner and four others on charges related to prostitution in September 2012. The affidavit says the money had not been seen since it was logged into evidence at that time.
Late last year, Bridges and Meyerrose contacted Chasteen, who had resigned from the department in November, and asked for her help in locating the money. According to the affidavit, she said she was unable to help in the search because she was working elsewhere. Chasteen later said she hoped she had not accidentally destroyed the money or mistakenly released it. Bridges and Meyerrose deemed those statements implausible.
An ISP audit of the GPD’s evidence room in late January revealed 13 property receipts with associated money missing. Investigators were also unable to locate additional property receipts associated with the shuttered massage parlor.
ISP investigators interviewed Chasteen last week, and during their discussion she said she began taking money from the evidence room in 2006 and continued doing so until at least 2013 for “personal, professional, gambling and financial reasons,” the affidavit states. She added that she had attempted to replace the funds by securing a sizable loan from relatives, as well as using money belong to her and her husband, Scott Chasteen, who told investigators he believed his wife had returned the money.
However, Stacey Chasteen said she had not put the money back, instead gambling away the funds.
Chasteen, a 17-year veteran of the GPD prior to her resignation, posted $2,000 on a $20,000 bond Tuesday and was released. She is scheduled for an initial hearing on the charges Wednesday, March 4.
Brown writes for the Greensburg (Ind.) Daily News.