Court docs: Former Greensburg police chief gambled away money stolen from evidence room
GREENSBURG (Feb. 17, 2015) – The former police chief of the Greensburg Police Department stole money from the department’s evidence room and gambled away thousands of dollars, prosecutors say.
Stacey Chasteen, 49, Seymour, is charged with theft and official misconduct. She surrendered to Indiana State Police. According to the Decatur County Prosecutor’s Office, Chasteen admits she stole money from the Greensburg Police Department evidence room. She claimed no other evidence was missing. Prosecutors said they had no reason to believe anything else was gone.
State police said the investigation began in December 2014 regarding missing money from the evidence room. An audit conducted in January turned up several discrepancies. Court documents allege that she stole money and tried to cover it up by destroying property record receipts.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Chasteen abruptly resigned from her position as police chief in November 2014. She’d been police chief since February 2011 and property officer since 2002. In December, her replacement noticed money was missing from the evidence room–nearly $73,000 confiscated from an Asian massage parlor on Lincoln Street in Greensburg. The officer couldn’t locate the money, which was placed into evidence on Sept. 20, 2012. The officer couldn’t find the property receipts either.
When asked to help search for the money, Chasteen sent text messages saying she “couldn’t come help them look for the money because she was working” and “she hoped she had not released the money” or “possibly she had inadvertently destroyed the money.” Investigators said none of the explanations seemed plausible.
An audit of the property room uncovered 13 property receipts indicating money stored in the evidence room was not found there, including the missing $73,000.
Scott Chasteen–Chasteen’s husband and fire chief for the city of Greensburg–disclosed that his wife had a gambling problem that resulted in her racking up $30,000 in credit card and cash advances. They filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the fall of 2010. He told investigators that in June 2013, his wife told him she’d taken money out of the evidence room and needed between $60,000-70,000 in order to replace it.
They borrowed $57,000 from family members and used some of their own money to replace the cash stolen from the property room, according to court documents. Scott Chasteen said they’d run the money through a money machine at a casino so they’d have the proper amount to return. He told investigators he saw his wife pack the money and assumed it was put back in the evidence room.
That’s not what happened, prosecutors say.
Stacey Chasteen told police she “resorted to stealing money” from the evidence room to cover personal and gambling debts. She also admitted that she hadn’t put the money back in the evidence room–she had in fact gambled away the $73,000 missing from the evidence room as well as the $70,000 borrowed in order to replace it.
During an interview, Chasteen said she started stealing from the department in 2006 and continued to do so through 2013. The money had been seized during various criminal cases.