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Raffle theft investigation yields no arrest

Quite often a suspect becomes the focus in the investigation of a crime because of his or her arrest history. While this may not seem fair, it is a realistic scenario. In a nearby Connecticut town, a 20-month investigation of the theft of raffle tickets and related money has ended with no arrests. The primary suspect was a former firefighter in the district where the annual raffle was held. His parents served as the chief and assistant chief when the alleged theft took place.

Regardless of the outcome of criminal investigations, there are penalties that affect more than just the suspects. The cloud of suspicion that settled over the volunteer fire department is a discomfort to be borne by those who had nothing to do with the theft. Reportedly, the suspect's parents were removed from their positions of authority because confidence in their leadership was lessened. The ticket buyers who thought they had a chance to win the prize had that opportunity taken away from them.

According to investigators, the former firefighter was charged in 2012 with buying heroin while on duty. The East Central Narcotics Task Force reported he had used and new bags of the drug on him when he was arrested. Because he successfully completed a drug-education program prior to his trial, the charges were dropped.

The detective's report described the suspect as a heroin and prescription drug addict. As it was learned there were other thefts at the firehouse, the conclusion was drawn that they were related to the addict's likely need to support his habit. Without definitive evidence to prove the theory, however, there could be no arrest on theft charges. The Fire Department signed a document admitting to fault for the missing raffle tickets. Restitution will be made to the buyers who can be identified.

Many factors will be considered in investigations of a crime. However, suspects' rights need to be protected no matter what information or allegations surface. Reputations can be ruined, and far reaching consequences to families may develop when assumptions are made or unsubstantiated information is made public.

Source: Journalinquirer.com, "Police make no arrest in raffle theft from 8th District" Kym Soper, Jan. 10, 2014

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