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Fired deputy pleads guilty to theft, gets a year of probation
A longtime York County sheriff's deputy has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $700 in cash from the sheriff's evidence room.
Troy Senft, 59, of East Manchester Township, was fired in May and criminally charged after admitting to investigators he needed "some extra cash" because he was going through a divorce, documents state.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking, theft by failure to make required disposition and tampering with physical evidence, court records state. As part of his negotiated plea agreement, other charges were dismissed, including hindering prosecution by concealing evidence, obstructing the administration of law and receiving stolen property.
Senft was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay $760 in restitution.
He held the rank of sergeant when he was terminated and was the longtime quartermaster of the evidence room under two different sheriffs. Senft was hired in September 1999, promoted to corporal in 2003 and promoted to sergeant in 2004.
York County detectives investigated and determined Senft twice took cash, with the amount totaling $760, documents state.
His defense attorney, Korey Leslie, said Senft is embarrassed by his actions, "and embarrassed at the position his actions put the sheriff's office in."
Disappointed: York County Sheriff Richard Keuerleber said his office took appropriate action in having Senft investigated, then made internal changes to ensure such thefts can't happen again.
"I feel bad for the men and women who work under my command, that we had to be put through this," Keuerleber said. "That's what I'm disappointed in. It was unfortunate our organization had to go through this."
He called his employees loyal and dedicated and said Senft's actions cast a shadow on their integrity, too.
Leslie said Senft did what he could to make things right.
"People have to judge for themselves if this lapse of judgment, this terrible mistake, totally discounts his 21 years in military service and 15 or so odd years of service to the county," the attorney said. "Troy immediately accepted responsibility for his mistakes, pled guilty at the first opportunity ... and has agreed to pay restitution and court costs as soon as (possible). What else can he do? He made a mistake and he's owned up to it.
"I don't foresee Troy Senft being in trouble again."
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.
The background: 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, documents state — the first time was the theft of $710 in January 2014, and 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, Keuerleber 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 of 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, according to the sheriff's office.
The other three deputies who'd been placed on administrative leave were cleared of wrongdoing and returned to duty, according to Keuerleber, who has said no one else was involved in the thefts.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.