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$116,000 stolen from police station

  - Record file image
— image credit: Record file image

A District of Mission employee was charged this week in connection with the disappearance of $116,000 from the Mission RCMP detachment's main exhibit room.

The money was discovered missing during a routine audit of the main exhibit room in January 2013. An exhibit room is a secure area to store items obtained by police, such as found property or evidence to support court cases.

"When the audit revealed a discrepancy, we immediately launched an investigation and brought in a team of outside investigators," said Insp. Richard Konarski, officer in charge of the Mission RCMP. "The allegations are disappointing and, of course, very concerning to us."

Maple Ridge resident, April Smith, 45, was arrested Feb. 15 and charged with theft over $5,000, breach of trust, and public servant refusing to deliver property.

"No other municipal employee, regular RCMP member, other support staff or volunteer was implicated in this investigation," said Konarski. He also added Mission RCMP has taken steps to improve the handling of exhibits, processes and procedures since the investigation began.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court April. 3.

Smith has been an employee with the District of Mission for 15 years and worked as the main exhibit custodian since April 2008. She was assigned to other duties when the investigation began to "reduce exposure," said Ken Bjorgaard, Mission's chief administrative officer.

She is still a district employee but has been suspended without pay since June 18, 2013.

"We will re-evaluate her status as a district employee after April 3," said Bjorgaard. "We'll let the court process take its course."

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