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Wetzel County Cash Is Missing

Sheriff’s department under investigation, prosecutor reveals

December 14, 2012
By LAUREN RIGGS For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NEW MARTINSVILLE - Wetzel County officials revealed this week they are investigating the disappearance of cash from the Wetzel County Sheriff's Department, as well as the handling of multiple firearms.

Sheriff Mike Koontz and Prosecutor Timothy Haught spoke with county commissioners about the matter. Koontz is serving as interim sheriff after James Hoskins resigned. John Brookover was elected sheriff Nov. 6 and will take office in January.

Hoskins cited new employment for his resignation, but his departure came amid allegations he was not fulfilling his duties.

Koontz and Haught told county commissioners during their Tuesday meeting that $2,600 is mostly unaccounted for. The money came from the confiscated property fund, provided by the commission to the sheriff's department for drug investigations. There is no record of where $2,200 to $2,300 of that amount went, officials said, and only $300 to $400 is listed as being used in an investigation.

During the Tuesday meeting, officials also said $900 was missing from the concealed weapons fund. They said the money was removed to purchase a firearm that is not accounted for at the sheriff's department. Commissioners were told the firearm is registered in the name of an individual who was at the sheriff's office but has not been returned.

Hoskins talked about that weapon and more during a telephone interview Tuesday.

"It was probably listed under (my name), because they needed a name. It was used for the sheriff's office," Hoskins said.

When told the gun was still missing, Hoskins said, "That gun is still missing ... OK."

Haught also told commissioners firearms donated to the department by Bayer Corp. recently were unaccounted for. The prosecutor said after the departure of Hoskins and former chief deputy Rob Haught, Koontz took inventory of the department and discovered firearms missing. Koontz went to Bayer Corp. for a record of the donated guns and their serial numbers. The prosecutor said Koontz then made a "diligent effort to search the office."

Letters were sent to Hoskins and Rob Haught, telling them of the missing firearms that would soon be listed as stolen. The prosecutor said a "DPMS assault type rifle, along with other items" were brought to the prosecutor's office by Hoskins. He said Rob Haught dropped off firearms at the sheriff's office.

The prosecutor said all items donated by Bayer have been recovered, including a 9 mm pistol that had been sold to a pawn shop and then sold to a third party by that shop in 2010 or 2011. The pistol was county property and was registered to the sheriff's office. The prosecutor said this situation is "under investigation, criminally."

Hoskins said Tuesday that five firearms originally were missing and that Rob Haught had four of the five. Rob Haught was not available this week for comment.

Hoskins added that when he left the office, he did so in a hurry and "had to gather stuff." Hoskins also said he did not know the 9 mm pistol had been sold to a pawn shop.

Koontz said recovery of the 9 mm pistol took hours of work and is "on the desk for prosecution," as the pistol had been "sold without authorization of the county."

 
 

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