BENNINGTON — A former Manchester police officer is charged with stealing over $2,000 in cash that authorities said was being held as evidence in a Manchester case.
Daniel Steere, 48, of Arlington, was cited Monday for the felony offense of grand larceny, according to Vermont State Police. He is scheduled to appear at the Bennington Superior criminal court on July 13.
Steere's criminal charge comes two years after the Manchester Police Department asked state police to conduct an investigation into money that had gone missing from its evidence room. The department chief at that time, Michael Hall, said over $2,000 had been seized during a police investigation in 2017, and it was discovered missing in March of 2018, according to a VSP news release on Thursday.
Steere had reportedly been temporarily serving as the police department's evidence custodian in May of 2017, when the money was thought to have disappeared.
Interviews conducted and evidence collected, including financial statements, have led investigators to believe that "Steere used his position within the department to take the seized currency and divert it for personal use," Detective Sgt. Jacob Metayer said in the release.
The state police's Williston Barracks conducted the investigation — rather than the Shaftsbury Barracks in Bennington County — to avoid any conflict of interest. This is standard procedure when state police investigate law enforcement officers or former officers, VSP spokesman Adam Silverman told the Banner.
The Manchester Police Department had placed Steere on administrative leave while the criminal investigation was ongoing. Later, the Town of Manchester terminated his employment following an internal investigation by the Manchester Police Department.
Manchester's town manager, John O'Keefe, told the Banner that the town has implemented changes after the cash evidence went missing. He declined to provide details on those changes, citing security concerns.
Hall, who retired from the Manchester Police Department last summer, said he learned about Steere's criminal charge only on Thursday. He declined to comment further because the case was still being investigated.
Additional case details are expected to be released through the state courts once Steere appears before a judge.
Contact Tiffany Tan at firstname.lastname@example.org or @tiffgtan on Facebook and Twitter.