Billings Police Chief reports theft at department evidence locke - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Billings Police Chief reports theft at department evidence locker

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Billings Police Chief Rich St. John reported Tuesday evidence was stolen from the department's evidence locker by a former evidence technician. 

St. John said cash, oxycodone, and other opioids were among the stolen evidence.

He identified Rawlyn Strizich as the evidence tech responsible for the theft.

According to St. John, Strizich self-reported the theft January 20. She was immediately placed on leave and was revoked of all access to anything related to Billings Police Department. He said there is no indication the pills were sold, but Strizich was using them. 

St. John said more than 138 cases had been tampered with, affecting 134 suspect's evidence was included in the theft. 

According to Yellowstone County Attorney, Scott Twito this theft could affect approximately 40 felony counts or charges. That approximate number could change. 

Twito said the effects are due to the evidence of the drug is completely gone, or it was substantially changed. He said this could cause a dismissal of certain counts in a case or entire charges. Twito broke that information down using this example: If someone is charged with felony drug possession and felony theft, the felony drug possession count could be dismissed, but the subject of the trial would still be charged with felony theft. 

Chief St. John said the department is taking immediate steps to double their efforts to keep evidence safe.

He said there are currently three evidence technicians and one supervisor on staff. One change they will be making is to increase staff at the evidence locker. 

They also will update security, as well as tighten up who has access to evidence. St. John said they will conduct regular and random audits of the evidence locker moving forward. Right now, there are more than 60,000 items in evidence. St. John said they will be working to remove some of that evidence. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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