3 inmates on Shore charged in theft of money, drugs from police barracks

May 20, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

SALISBURY - Three prison inmates assigned to a weekend cleanup detail at the state police barracks here have been accused of stealing money, cocaine and marijuana from the property room.

The charges have prompted officials to suspend the use of low-security prison laborers at barracks in the state until the incident has been investigated.

Richard C. Harris, 45, of Haines, Fla., has been charged with 10 counts of conspiracy and burglary in what police say was the theft of $3,150, about 4 grams of cocaine and 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana.

Investigators believe Harris and two other inmates, who have not been identified, managed to get keys to the locked room Saturday morning, then hid the cash and drugs in their clothes until they were returned to the Poplar Hill Pre-Release Unit at nearby Quantico in Wicomico County.

Searches of inmates at the rural, low-security prison have turned up about $1,000 and some of the missing marijuana. Investigators say it is unlikely the loss of evidence will affect any current criminal cases. "We are taking this very seriously because it involves a breach of security," said Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman.

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