WSAZ Investigates | Report released in casino theft
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - State officials released a report Thursday, giving a glimpse into a casino’s version of what happened when a now-retired state trooper is accused of stealing money from a man in May 2021.
“There’s no way to look at this other than just this - the trooper picked it up and took the money,” West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Monday. “Basically, any way you cut it, that money was stolen.”
The governor referenced an incident caught on surveillance camera at a casino in Cross Lanes in May 2021.
WSAZ first broke this story a few weeks ago, after the station received an anonymous letter about the alleged theft. That letter states a senior trooper stole cash from a man at the casino in Cross Lanes. It also states the case was never presented to the prosecutor, no criminal charges were filed, no internal investigation and that the trooper was allowed to retire.
WSAZ immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act request -- trying to obtain the video and the casino’s investigative report.
The station received the video earlier this week. Thursday, the investigative report was released, which includes details about what happened that day.
The report states the alleged victim told security he had lost an envelope at this slot machine. Security officials then used surveillance to identify this man as picking up the envelope and eventually taking into the parking lot, where he entered his truck and drove away.
The governor has identified the person who took the money as a state trooper. WSAZ has chosen to blur his face since he hasn’t been criminally charged.
The report states casino security identified the truck’s license plate number and forwarded that information to State Police.
According to the casino report, the investigating trooper ran the truck’s plates, identified who took the money and recovered the envelope with the cash.
The investigating trooper returned the envelope to the casino and the victim picked it up the next day.
The governor confirms the trooper involved in the alleged theft retired last month.
As for the trooper who investigated the alleged theft, state officials say he didn’t report it to his superiors. Jack Chambers, the newly appointed head of the State Police, says he’s looking into those actions.
State officials say the statute of limitations has run out on the alleged theft meaning it’s likely no charges can be filed, however, the new interim State Police superintendent is looking into how the incident was handled by the investigating trooper and why a recent review of those actions, conducted under the former head of the agency found no wrongdoing.
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