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No Charges, Early Retirement for Officer Caught Stealing [Poll]

Det. Derek Johnson confessed to stealing money from the Marlborough evidence room.

City officials have revealed that a longtime Marlborough police detective has been caught after stealing thousands of dollars from the department's evidence room, according to a recent WHDH Channel 7 report. 

Det. Derek Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the force, has confessed to stealing more than $8,000 related to at least 10 pending cases, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office. 

Johnson, who was the officer in charge of the evidence room, has been given a deal in exchange for his confession, revealed the "Hank Investigates," segment Thursday evening. He was allowed to leave the force, cash out a $112,000 pension and return the stolen funds. As part of the deal, he will not be prosecuted for his crimes. 

When asked if the former detective got off easy, Chief Mark Leonard said to WHDH, “Absolutely not. He's no longer a police officer, the city was made whole, he's not drawing a pension for the rest of his life. If he were prosecuted criminally and we were not successful, he very well could have come back to work here!”

First-time mayor and longtime city council member Arthur Vigeant stood by Leonard's decision. 

"The number one issue was trying to find out exactly who was involved; there was only one officer involved, and he's been purged from the department," Vigeant said to WHDH.

As a result of Johnson's actions, several pending cases are compromised due to the missing and tampered with evidence. 

Do you think the chief made the right decision by offering Johnson a deal? Do you agree with the mayor—Is the city better off for it? Vote in the poll and tell us what you think in the comment field.

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Me February 17, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I think it is wrong that he is not being prosecuted for his crimes.If it was anyone other then a cop there wouldn't be a question on if to charge or not. If this is how the City of Marlborough works the charges against Mark Evangelous should be dropped. Johnson is a corrupt cop, has been fo YEARS!! It's about time he got caught doing something!!
sliver2006 February 17, 2012 at 06:53 PM
he should be thrown in jail
timothy February 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Hiw is the city going to look people in the eye and charge people for crimes when one of their oen detectives gets let off so easily. All he did was lose his job, honestly thats a slap on the wrist in the grand scheme of things. And they give him his pension of 112,000 thats obsurd. This man defiled everything it means to be a police officer and the city takes a blind eye and lets him walk. Meanwhile countless people are getting raked over the coals and are having the whole book thrown at them for petty crimes. Im not excusing the charges some people catch for crimes they commit, but i find it disturbing that tge Marlborough police department has the odacity to stand there and not charge him while people who commit minor crimes get a slew of charges just to see what sticks. If the Marlborough police department had a pair and had some sort of honor they would of made an example out of him. To be honest walking away with out any charges makes the Malrborough police department just as at fault as detective Johnson, this is simply dumbfiunding.
Isaac February 17, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Mark Leonard said "If he were prosecuted criminally and we were not successful, he very well could have come back to work here!”... Well if Johnson confessed for his crime and was caught by the evidence, then it would be successful in their part, and he would not only lose his job but get a sentence like any other criminal.
victor m February 17, 2012 at 11:07 PM
That is totally wrong he s should of been prosicuted this is another case of the blue wall taking care of each other. Normal person would be paying for lawyer fines court cost and time off from. work also possible jail time and a criminal record he got off so easy it is wrong.
stephen chaves February 18, 2012 at 12:55 AM
I can't agree more with you...this is ridiculous, guy has been corrupt for years,the police dept should prosecute him to the fullest.he has embarassed the whole dept..it is unfortunate that there's is not a proper reprimand.that asshole is a thief,liar and a cheat...and you go ahead and indicte mark Evangelous..sad
Keith MacNeil February 18, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Hmmmm, seems to me the Marlboro police charged someone a few years ago with unarmed robbery for stealing a can of soup. Now, one of there own steals $8000, and they pay him to return it?
Jim Edwards February 18, 2012 at 02:19 AM
This sucks plain & simple. I got busted 20 years ago for 2 grams of weed... a couple joints, and I'm still having it come up on my record every time I have to deal with police, courts, a job, getting a firearms license whatyever... and now it's decriminalized and I still have it on my record! He should be charged, convicted, lose his job, pension and pay the appropriate price.
Tim A February 18, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I know and trust many an officer on the MPD, and think Chief Leonard's decision was the right one and also am sure he did not make it alone, nor without long deliberation and concern about what was best for the dept and the city. For those residents who don't have the benefit of knowing some of these men and women personally, please rest assured, the very large majority of them are some damn fine people.
Hunter Brown February 18, 2012 at 07:06 AM
EVEN IF they truly no longer have enough evidence to convict him, whoever allowed that evidence to disappear needs to be fired, whether they did it due to incompetence or corruption. This whole story is atrocious, and isn't the kind that people will forget any time soon. Mayor Vigeant's immediate support of the Chief's so called decision is also mind boggling.
Me February 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM
We are also forgetting not only did this criminal got off but "As a result of Johnson's actions, several pending cases are compromised due to the missing and tampered with evidence." Good job loser!! I wonder how many of those cases in that big drug bust last month are compromised?
David February 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Officer in Charge allows $8000 to disappear. As if they had no evidence he was the culprit. He confessed because they caught him the act. But - because he is one of their own. No criminal charges. Why is that best for the police department. I say let the system do its job - investigate and prosecute. IF he is found not guilty then SO BE IT he comes back to work. IF he is found guilty then he should join his buddies in Walpole. .
David February 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Tim - take your blinders off. How many people knew and trusted Officer Derek Johnson. You say the Chief made th right decision? Tell us your insight as to why this is the right decision. Sounds like you know what they dileberated and what they were concerned with because you like them and trust them. Not very sound reasoning. .
Carrie-Ann Rawson February 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM
he confessed because he was told if he did he would not be charged. so therefore had they pressed charges they would not have had the confession as evidence.
Joescarp February 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Since he was the only one with access apparently, they didn't need him to confess in order to prosecute him. It would have been a slam-dunk prosecution. He got off scot-free, basically.
David February 18, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Carrie-Ann - So lets see - we all can rob, steal or kill and then confess and we won't be charged. makes perfect sense - does it?
tracey young February 18, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Detective Derek Johnson is a digrace to the Marlboro Police Dept, along with many other officers over the years who commited crimes and never prosocuted. If i or anyone else stole anything we would be held accountable no questions asked. He should not only have to pay back the money, but he should also have to face a judge just like anyone else would have to. Wheres the justice? Its all in the hands of Marlboros finest.
Henry Kasperowicz February 19, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Tracey and all others "Yes Detective Johnson might be a disgrace to the Marlborough Police Department. I lived in Marlboro since 1976 and graduate with Mark Leonard and know a lot of Marlborough Police who would give their lives to protect you. Since none of you know what this deal entailed its hard to say what the reason, but I can gaurantee you this was not just Marks decision. Think about Marlborough as a City in order to prosocute this offcer with appeals it would have cost the City incredible amounts of money. Since this was his 1st offence he would have gotten pobation and a fine, plus Walpole please no one goes to Walpole for embezzlimg money. I can also tell you Ma. DA office had somthing to do with it also. In Ma if your a cop or a citizen the penalies are as follows and since it is evidence and not public funds. Possible Penalties Jail time – up to 10 years with the embezzlement of public funds Probation Significant fines and fees Restitution Community service He is gone as a Marlborugh Office!!!!!!!!!!
bill hedin February 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Chief Leonard is the best Chief of Police in our lifetime in Marlboro. I had the pleasure of growing up with him, and he's very intelligent as well as fair. He has a tough job and I know he does it very well.
Paul Bishop February 19, 2012 at 04:54 PM
The largest issue in play here isn't even the theft of the cash. It's bad enough, granted-- I'm guessing the guy got himself in a bind somehow and saw taking the cash as a way out. The larger issue is that he has admitted to tampering with evidence in upcoming criminal prosecutions.. which will allow any defense attorney to nullify the physical evidence in the cases.. even cases where the money that was stolen WASN'T even part of the case. The evidence room has been compromised, therefore the evidence itself is suspect. Hopefully, part of the admission is that his actions only involved specific cases and evidence bins (whatever they are called), so that the OTHER evidence held in the department can be judged to be un-tampered... otherwise I can see how a LOT bigger problem than some missing cash might be coming at the city, namely the inability to prosecute a lot of OTHER crimes..
Lee Wright February 19, 2012 at 07:15 PM
This is more revealing that the Chief and the Mayor intend: - Is there no internal audit to detect this earlier? - No procedural safeguards that ensure that this can not happen unilaterally? - No electronic surveillance system to document the actions so that there is no need to let the criminal escape prosecution? Further, there is no indication that anything will be done to keep this from happening again. Perhaps this was an oversight by the reporter, but given the strong negative reflection on the administration of the department by the Chief and the Mayor, one would have expected that the first message they would have delivered would been along the lines of, "We are deeply sorry we have let down the people of Marlborough and allowed this to happen. We will work to regain your trust and confidence in us by having a comprehensive audit conducted by an independent firm outside of Massachusetts and by implementing these specific procedures . . . "
Paul Bishop February 19, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Lee, a senior officer stole from evidence room within the police station itself. Despite your obvious desire to make this political, it is not.. it is the very evidence tracking you mention that caught him... So it is therefore your actual position that they had the forethought to put those systems in place and should be commended for their tremendous work, right? The fact he was caught clearly shows they are due the trust given them (by your argument) by the people and have done a fantastic job, having caught a person who was in a position to undermine those very security measures. That is of course unless the reality of the situation is less important than your political bias, mind you...
David February 20, 2012 at 03:39 PM
The public has been robbed of due process in this case. The Chief and those who support this decision are applying their special brand of justice reserved for the brotherhood.

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