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Evidence technician gets probation for police station drug theft

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A former Beckley Police Department evidence technician was sentenced to four years probation after pleading guilty to taking controlled substances from the department's evidence locker.

The single-page information filed Oct. 5 states Gabriella Brown, 31, of Beckley, fraudulently obtained oxycodone. Brown, who served as an evidence custodian for 15 months, appeared April 29 before U.S. District Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield.

Raleigh County Circuit Court Judge John Hutchinson, who is Brown's father, took the stand to testify on Brown's behalf.

According to the stipulation of facts, as an evidence technician Brown was responsible for "logging evidence into the evidence room, filling out property control forms, placing evidence into evidence bags and completing the chain of custody forms."

She also held one of the two keys to the evidence room.

The stipulation said a Beckley Police Department officer placed a container with 49 15-mg oxycodone pills and 16 30-mg morphine pills into the evidence locker.

However, the next day, Brown took 22 of the 15-mg oxycodone pills.

When an officer came to Brown to get the pills, he found some of the oxycodone pills were missing.

"The detective asked Ms. Brown, ‘Is this it?' She responded, ‘this is it,'" the stipulation states.

The stipulation states Brown was addicted to opiates and had "stolen oxycodone and other prescription pain medication from the Beckley Police Department's evidence room on several other occasions."