Veteran cop stole from evidence room

On just one station–thousands of dollars swiped from a local police evidence room, but who took the money? Hank’s exclusive investigation reveals the shocking confession– and you’ll be even more shocked about what Hank found happened next!

He was one of Marlboro's veteran cops. 24 years on the force. But Detective Derek Johnson is no longer on the job. And most people don’t know why.

We uncovered these documents from the District Attorney that show Detective Johnson confessed to swiping more than $8000 from the police station's own evidence room – including cash seized during drug raids and larceny arrests.

And now for the first time Marlboro’s police chief is talking on just one station about the detective, and the surprising deal he cut.

Hank: “He swore to uphold the law!”

Chief Mark Leonard, Marlborough Police: “And he certainly violated that.”

Investigators say he didn't steal just once! According to documents from the Middlesex District Attorney's office, Detective Johnson "admitted to stealing the cash evidence" from "approximately 10 pending criminal cases"

Hank: "So is Johnson in jail? Awaiting trial? Fired? Nope."

Chief Leonard – who knew Johnson was in charge of the evidence room – decided to offer him a deal: Admit what happened, and the confession won’t be used against you.

Hank: "He confessed."

Chief Mark Leonard, Marlborough Police: "He did."

Hank: "But you can't use that against him in a criminal case?"

Chief Mark Leonard, Marlborough Police: "We cannot."

Because of that deal, after Detective Johnson told all – he was allowed to cash out the $112,000 in his retirement fund, pay back the amount he took, and resign!

Hank: “Do you think this is special treatment?”

Chief Mark Leonard, Marlborough Police: “Absolutely not. He's no longer a police officer, the city was made whole, he's not drawing a pension for the rest of his life. If he were prosecuted criminally and we were not successful, he very well could have come back to work here!”

The mayor – who wasn't in office at the time – says he stands by the Police Chief’s decision.

Arthur Vigeant, Marlborough Mayor: "The number one issue was trying to find out exactly who was involved, there was only one officer involved, and he's been purged from the department."

Hank: "Is Detective Johnson in, please?"

We wanted to talk to the detective about it…

Hank: "Could you ask him to call me?"

But he never responded to our repeated requests.

Chief Mark Leonard, Marlborough Police: "I think we made the best of a bad situation, and you know it’s unfortunate, but the bottom line we ended up in the best position we could given the circumstances."

What's not in the best position: The criminal cases where the stolen money was supposed to be used as evidence! Now that evidence is gone!

Defense attorneys say that could put lots of cases in jeopardy. The lawyer for this guy – who's facing many charges of drug possession and trafficking – says he'll ask that his case be dismissed.

Hank: "What would you say to the commonwealth now?

Samuel Goldberg, Defense attorney: "Show me the money! Show me the money, show the jury the money the officers allegedly found in my client's home. And they can't now!"

Marlborough police say they now have new safeguards in place to make sure nothing like this happens again.

(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)