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Burnaby employee charged with stealing cocaine from RCMP drug exhibit

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A 56-year-old Burnaby employee has been charged with theft after cocaine was discovered missing from a Burnaby RCMP drug exhibit.

Last spring, about 500 grams of cocaine was found to be missing during an exhibit audit at the Burnaby detachment, according to Sgt. Peter Thiessen of the RCMP's E Division in a press release.

Following an investigation, it was determined that a city employee with oversight of the exhibits had allegedly taken the missing cocaine.

Burnaby resident Gary Read, 56, has been charged with a single count of theft. His first court date is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Vancouver Provincial Court.

Read was a supervisor of the exhibit area at the detachment and had been a longterm employee, said Burnaby deputy city manager Rick Earle.

"We have strict policies on employee conduct and in accordance with those policies, Mr. Read was terminated," Earle said.

He could not disclose the date of termination nor exactly how long Read had worked for the city, citing privacy concerns.

The missing cocaine is not related to a case before the courts, and all other drug exhibits at the detachment have been accounted for, Thiessen said.

“When the audit revealed a discrepancy, we immediately launched an investigation and imposed greater restrictions to the exhibit room," said Burnaby RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Critchley in a press release.

"As a result of the audit and subsequent investigation we have improved the handling of exhibits, processes and procedures to prevent this from happening again.”

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

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