KENTWOOD, La. - Kentwood Police Chief Greg Newton turned himself into authorities Wednesday morning after an investigation uncovered $2,000 seized from a burglary that was misappropriated by the chief, according to the Louisiana State Police.
"The currency had been submitted to the department as evidence following its recovery from a residential burglary investigation. Through the course of the investigation, Troopers discovered that Newton was the sole guardian of the missing evidence and was responsible for its misuse. LSP investigators concluded that Newton intentionally tampered with the evidence constituting malfeasance and subsequently obtained a warrant for his arrest," said a statement from Trooper Nick Manale, a spokesman for State Police.
Newton was booked in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on one count of malfeasance in office and one count of obstruction of justice for tampering with evidence.
He told Northshore Bureau Chief Ashley Rodrigue in an exclusive interview as he exited the jail, “No I didn't steal no money. 'Then why are you here?' I have no comment right at the present time, but I'm gonna make a comment at the proper time and I will contact you all. 'But you would say right now that you're totally innocent?' I have no comment at the present time."
It’s still unclear how the money went missing, but authorities believe the police chief played a role in its disappearance. Reaction in the town of 2,200 is disappointment.
"We are pretty sad as of what recently came down as of today,” said Kentwood Mayor Harold Smith. “We're sad for the chief, we're sad for the town."
The city says its stance on this whole situation is to not have a stance at all, at least for now.
Smith said, "I think it's fair to the chief and the town and everybody else to wait until this episode unfolds."
The investigation is still ongoing to determine if others were involved, police said.