Winamac Police Officer Charged with Theft

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An investigation into money found missing from an evidence storage locker at the Winamac Police Department has unearthed a suspect.

Daymond Hartley, a Winamac officer on the night shift, allegedly admitted to Winamac Police Chief Michael Buchanan that he took $6,352 from the storage locker while working a shift during the last week of March. The money had been collected as evidence after a fatal accident involving Jamie Sheets of Winamac.

Buchanan placed the money in the evidence locker on Feb. 25 immediately after clearing the scene of the accident. Buchanan noticed the money missing on March 31 and noted that no forcible entry was made in order to steal the money. Pulaski County Prosecutor Stacey Mrak ordered an investigation and the case was assigned to an Indiana State Police investigator.

On April 6, Buchanan asked Hartley to cover a shift, which he declined, and Buchanan continued with patrols. When he returned to the police department from conducting patrols at around 12:42 p.m. that day, he unlocked the outside door, walked down the hall and noticed a manilla envelope lying by the office door which had been locked. Inside the envelope was the missing money.

It was on Monday, April 8 that Officer Hartley reportedly confessed to Buchanan to taking the money. He explained that his mother was ill and was in need of approximately $5,000 to have dental work completed to prevent a bacterial infection. He allegedly stated that during the last week in March, he found the evidence locker key in Chief Buchanan’s office and took the envelope. He returned the money on Saturday, April 6 in a sealed envelope and spoke with Buchanan about the incident that following Monday.

Hartley is facing one count of Theft as a Class D Felony. He has been summoned to appear in Pulaski Superior Court for an initial hearing on Thursday, May 16 at 11 a.m. ET.