A University Place animal control officer was arrested Thursday after deputies found about $1,400 in his truck from the scene of a marijuana-grow operation officials were investigating, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
Deputies responding to a burglary at a University Place house Wednesday found more than 80 marijuana plants inside, Troyer said Thursday.
Officials were called about 11 a.m. to the 7800 block of 35th Street West after neighbors reported seeing two men breaking into the home.
The alleged burglars, both 18, were arrested.
Among those who responded to the scene were two University Place animal control officers, Troyer said. He did not know which animals at the scene required their services.
Deputies noticed that the cash initially found at the secured scene had disappeared, and after investigating, they found the money in the animal control officers’ truck Wednesday.
“When we went there (Wednesday) night, we knew there was evidence in the house and we secured it,” Troyer said. “We did an investigation that eventually led us to the animal control officer. They (the control officers) both denied it.”
The 28-year-old officer arrested was booked into jail for charges of theft in the second degree, tampering with physical evidence and criminal conduct in the third degree.
All of the money was recovered.
Troyer said the extent to which the other officer was involved has yet to be determined.
“Neither of them are working,” he said.
University Place officials were referring questions to the city attorney, who was not available Thursday night, Mayor Ken Grassi said.
The city employs only those two animal control officers, and Troyer said they are uniformed and carry weapons.
Pierce County animal control has taken over in University Place until the situation is resolved, he said.
Authorities dismantled the grow operation, which included reflective sheeting, fans and a grow shield, Troyer said.
The woman in her mid-40s who lived at the house was not arrested, but deputies are sending reports of their investigation to the prosecutor, Troyer firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8268 blog.thenewstribune.com/crime