Former Montgomery Co. police officer accused of stealing weapons, drug evidence and cash; using informants to purchase drugs for his personal use
HARRISBURG, PA — Agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation have filed charges against a former police officer from Montgomery County who is accused of using police department informants to make drug purchases on his behalf, along with the theft of valuables from the evidence room of his police department, including firearms, cash and narcotics.
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendant as John Becker, 42, of Horsham, Montgomery County. Becker is a former detective sergeant with the Hatboro Police Department.
According to the criminal charges, between December 2009 and January 2011 Becker convinced or coerced several individuals to make numerous drug purchases on his behalf, including powerful prescription pain medications such as Oxycontin and Percocet, along with cocaine.
Kelly said that all of these transactions were allegedly under the guise of assisting “undercover drug investigations” that were supposedly being conducted by Becker, though in reality no official investigations existed and Becker is accused of keeping the drugs for his own personal use.
“These non-existent investigations allegedly created by Becker to obtain drugs put unsuspecting informants in harm’s way and also tarnished the legitimate work of police departments in Montgomery and Bucks counties,” Kelly said.
Additionally, Becker is accused of engaging in a series of thefts from the evidence room of the Hatboro Police Department, where he served for many years as the evidence custodian. Between 2003 and 2011, Becker allegedly stole ten firearms, including a rare German 9mm Luger pistol, along with numerous other handguns and a 12 gauge shotgun.
Kelly said that Becker is also accused of taking more than $18,000 in cash from the evidence room, along with an Omega watch valued at $2,700 and narcotics worth more than $2,000.
As the result of this investigation, agents executed a search warrant on Becker’s home in June 2011, recovering several items determined to be evidence from the Hatboro Police Department evidence room, including items still bearing evidence stickers and items that Becker had allegedly designated as “destroyed” while serving as evidence custodian for the police department.
Kelly said the investigation also resulted in the recovery of five firearms that were allegedly sold by Becker to store in Horsham and later resold to unsuspecting buyers in Pennsylvania and Texas. Four more weapons were later located in the trunk of Becker’s car.
Becker is charged with ten counts of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, all second-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to ten years in prison and $25,000 fines.
Additionally, Becker is charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking, all third-degree felonies punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
Becker is also charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, eight counts of unlawful restraint and 12 counts of criminal coercion, all first-degree misdemeanors each punishable by up to five years in prison and $10,000 fines, along with four counts of official oppression, a second-degree misdemeanors punishable by up to two years in prison and $5,000 fines.
Becker surrendered today to agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and was preliminarily arraigned before Hatboro Magisterial District Judge Paul N. Leo.
Kelly thanked Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman along with Montgomery County Detectives; Bucks County District Attorney David W. Heckler and Bucks County Detectives; along with the Hatboro Police Department, for their extensive cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
Becker will be prosecuted in Montgomery County by Senior Deputy Attorney General John Flannery of the Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecutions Section.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)