Norma Currlin, a Sunrise, Florida Police Department evidence technician, was arrested Friday after she was accused of stealing oxycodone pills from the department’s evidence room, news sources report. Currlin, 50, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on six counts of theft of controlled substances. She was later released after posting $6,000 bond. It was not immediately clear whether she had hired a lawyer.
According to reports, Currlin has been working for the Sunrise Police Department for around 22 years. She worked as a police dispatcher before becoming an evidence technician at the department in July 2006. As an evidence technician, Currlin is responsible for keeping inventory of the department’s “drug room,” where the department stores the drugs it seizes during searches and arrests. She reportedly created a logbook to manage the pills kept in the room; the book shows when detectives or other personnel took pills from the room to use in investigations or as evidence. Only one technician other than Currlin reportedly has daily access to the room.
The police department performed an audit on the drug room in May 2012, reports say. During that check, officers found that seven oxycodone pills were missing from a package inside the drug room. The missing pills were not required for any prior court cases and had no reason to be missing, sources allege.
Following the random check, detectives decided to conduct a full inventory of the drug room. The assessment showed that a number of pills had mysteriously gone missing. The missing pills were from a variety of cases, including an armed robbery case, a Drug Enforcement Administration drug seizure, and two community prescription drug operations. Some of the stolen pills were part of batches that were scheduled to be destroyed, reports say. The pill packs had apparently been resealed after the pills were taken to prevent the thefts from being discovered.
The Sunrise department began an internal investigation to determine who had taken the medications, sources say. Using DNA evidence, detectives reportedly determined that the other technician had not taken the missing pills. Surveillance video purportedly showed Currlin arriving at work, going into the drug room and reemerge less than a minute later on a regular basis. Sometimes, Currlin allegedly went into the drug room prior to clocking in.
Detectives spoke with Currlin, who allegedly believed that she was being framed. Currlin suggested “a possible conspiracy theory in which someone could enter the Property and Evidence Drug Room completely undetected and somehow place her DNA on the items that had been tampered with,” a police report supposedly says. It is not clear whether detectives looked into this possibility. In any case, Currlin was eventually arrested for allegedly taking the pills.
The Sunrise Police Department has placed Currlin on paid administrative leave. A spokesperson said the department would come to decision about her role with the police officer in the coming weeks. It is too early to say whether Currlin is believed to have used the pills herself or sold them to others.
Source: 8.28.13 Currlin Drug Theft.pdf