BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (WALA) – A Jail trustee in Bayou La Batre may soon be taking up residence in Metro jail after police say he broke into the evidence room looking for drugs.
There were only two inmates in the Bayou La Batre jail this weekend, one of them was a trusty, but police now believe their trust was misplaced.
“At this time, we’re investigating an inmate, a trusty detailed with cleaning up the building, somehow managed to enter the property room,” Sgt. Mike Goodin said.
Sgt. Goodin said the break-in was discovered late Friday, June 6. He said most of the evidence from local and state cases including weapons, money and drugs are kept in the room. Investigators believe they know what the inmate was after.
“It appears he was targeting prescription pills,” he said.
According to Goodin police found some of the stolen pills later that evening. By late Monday police had determined 21 Norco pills were missing. Norco is a prescription painkiller similar to Loritab. Goodin said it’s believed the inmate destroyed the pills when he realized investigators were on to him.
Sgt. Goodin said the suspect somehow “jimmied” the lock on the door. There were no keys involved. And he said as of Monday morning everything in the room, except the Norco pills had been accounted for.
“He’s accounted for everything, and he’s doubled probably triple checking right now just to make sure. Everything that goes into and out of that room is accounted for. There are multiple checks and balances to that system. That’s how we were quickly able to account for everything that was missing,” Goodin explained.
Goodin said it’s been several years since the department had any problem with the evidence room.
In 2011, former Bayou La Batre police officer Jason Edwards was arrested for theft. Edwards was in charge of the evidence room when investigators say he stole drug money. However, prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to convict Edwards and the charges were dropped.
Goodin says there is no evidence that anyone with the police department was involved in this latest break-in. But, Goodin said the trusty may have had help from the outside.
“We’re just looking for somebody on the outside you could have given him some advise on how to get into this particular setup,” he said.
Goodin said police also have surveillance video of the break-in.
Police say they will release the suspects name once he is arrested.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Jason Edwards pleaded guilty to charges against him.