Fired York County sheriff's deputy now facing theft trial
A longtime York County sheriff's deputy is facing trial after appearing in district court Tuesday and waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.
Troy Senft was fired last month and criminally charged with stealing more than $700 from the evidence room of the sheriff's office. He allegedly told investigators he needed "some extra cash" because he was going through a divorce, according to court documents.
He went to the office of District Judge Linda Williams on Tuesday morning and waived his hearing, which had been scheduled for 10:45 a.m. His case will now be forwarded to York County Court for trial, and his formal court arraignment date is set for July 15, according to Williams' office.
Senft, 58, of East Manchester Township, held the rank of sergeant when he was terminated and was the longtime quartermaster of the evidence room under two different sheriffs.
He remains free on his own recognizance, charged with hindering prosecution by concealing evidence, theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition, tampering with evidence, obstructing the administration of law and two counts of receiving stolen property.
Two alleged thefts: He is accused of twice stealing cash from the evidence room, with the amount totaling $760, according to charging documents.
York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber has said the evidence room is used to store evidence in cases brought by the sheriff's office. It is not the room that holds evidence in pending trials for criminal cases around the county, he confirmed.
According to charging documents, Senft was interviewed May 3 by Assistant Chief County Detective Doug Demangone and denied taking $710 from an evidence package. But when confronted with a second evidence-room theft — $50 was missing from a different envelope, authorities said — Senft had a change of heart, documents state.
"The defendant advised that he had taken the missing monies from both envelopes and that he had sliced open the evidence tape ... and then closed them using adhesive," Demangone wrote in charging documents.
Senft said it happened twice, according to charging documents. The first time was the theft of $710 in January 2014, documents state, while the second theft happened in January 2015.
"The defendant stated that he had taken the monies because he was going through a divorce and that he needed some extra cash," Demangone wrote. "He stated that the only mistake he made was that 'he didn't put the money back' (as he had planned). He advised that he could have replaced the money without anyone ever knowing that he had taken it for personal use."
Senft was fired May 3, the sheriff has said.
The allegations: It was on April 27 that officials discovered $710 cash was missing from an evidence package. On that day, Chief York County Detective Darryl Albright was clearing a backlog of outstanding court forfeiture awards for the York County District Attorney's Office and asked for that envelope, which had contained cash seized from a drug dealer in December 2013, according to charging documents.
When Albright opened the package, he discovered two evidence bags had been torn open and all the cash was missing, documents state.
Keuerleber said he immediately opened an internal investigation and asked the DA's office to have county detectives investigate. Senft and three other deputies who were connected in some way to the case were placed on administrative leave the next day, according to the officials.
Part of the sheriff's internal investigation involved investigating the other stored evidence. It was then discovered that $50 was missing from an evidence package — loose cash that a deputy found lying on the sidewalk outside the county judicial center, a release from the sheriff's office states.
It's believed there is no other money missing from the evidence room, Keuerleber confirmed.
Has cooperated: Defense attorney Korey Leslie, who represents Senft, has said although his client has admitted to the thefts, he and Leslie don't agree with all the charges lodged in the case. Leslie said Senft fully cooperated with the investigation.
The other three deputies who'd been placed on administrative leave were cleared of wrongdoing and returned to duty, according to the release. The sheriff said no one else is involved.
Keuerleber said internal changes have been made regarding his department's evidence room to ensure this type of theft can't happen again.
Senft was hired in September 1999, promoted to corporal in 2003 and promoted to sergeant in 2004.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.