State police probe apparent theft of cash, narcotics from Lee Police Department
LEE — State police detectives are investigating the apparent theft of cash and narcotics from the Lee Police Department, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
The announcement comes less than two weeks after the resignation of Lee Police Officer Ryan Lucy, who voluntarily entered rehab in August for substance abuse treatment, according to the release. He remains in treatment and is cooperating with investigators.
Lucy was one of two assigned evidence officers in the department, the release said. He has not been directly accused in the thefts.
The department requested a criminal investigation into the missing evidence in July when it discovered cash from a theft investigation was missing.
A total of $1,408 was determined to have been stolen from the department's evidence locker, though that amount of money was returned during the early phases of the investigation, according to the DA's office.
The narcotics, some of which were opioids, apparently were stolen from the department's "drop-off box" used to collect unused, expired or unwanted medications.
The missing evidence was reported to the state police, which, along with Lee Police, is conducting an audit of all of the evidence in the department's possession.
It doesn't appear that any evidence connected to ongoing or recently closed investigations has been compromised, according to the release.
The DA's office said the investigation is ongoing and "no further information will be forthcoming until the investigation is completed."
The alleged thefts are another potential black eye for the department, which recently saw its former chief, Joseph Buffis, sentenced to 27 months in federal prison following his conviction on a charge of extortion.
Buffis was convicted last June after a jury determined he'd strong-armed a Lee couple into making a bogus $4,000 "donation" to a charity toy fund he supervised in exchange for the dropping of pending criminal charges against them.
The same jury acquitted Buffis of 10 other counts connected to his alleged mishandling of money from that charity toy fund.
Lucy was a prosecution witness at Buffis' trial.
Buffis is currently serving his sentence at the medium-security Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in Glenville, W. Va.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.