An evidence clerk at a local police department has been charged with multiple counts of theft for repeatedly stealing evidence, an investigation has revealed.

An investigation by DeSoto police found shocking evidence that the thefts from the department’s evidence room were committed by one of its own employees, CBS News Texas reported.

The investigation began following a property room audit in April 2022 led by consultant Gayle Robinson, who raised concerns about missing evidence in the “mess” of the DeSoto PD’s property room, which she said had not been run properly for several years.

Robinson noted in her findings that the homicide evidence from cold cases was not properly logged in the system. Items from some of those cases were supposed to have been destroyed, yet they still remained in the room, CBS News Texas reported. Other pieces of evidence that should have been secured in the property room were unaccounted for.

She also mentioned in her report that none of the items in the room included integrity seals.

“Without a signed seal by the officer there is no integrity of that item, which means no chain of custody,” Robinson stated.

Kolene Dean, a retired evidence room technician not involved in the audit, agreed with Robinson, noting the ripple effect created by such issues.

“All you have to do is have one incident where something is missing,” she told CBS. “And it affects every case because your chain of custody is critical. And if you cannot prove that that has been in a secure area, then the attorneys can attack all areas of the evidence.”

“It’s a shame that you can’t trust people, but you can’t,” Dean commented. “It’s a hard lesson to learn in this field.”

DeSoto PD placed its trust in Carl Edmison, who ran the evidence room at the DeSoto Police Department for six years prior to the April 2022 audit. He was charged two years later for the stolen evidence missing from the property room.

Edmison was originally hired by the DeSoto Police Department in 2009 as a jailer. In 2016, he transitioned to work as a property and evidence technician, before finally resigning in May 2022 to take a job elsewhere, according to CBS.

In the midst of the April 2022 audit, Edmison applied for a job at Midlothian Police Department as an employee in the property room, CBS reported. Edmison came with a recommendation from the DeSoto PD, and ended up with the job as the audit was underway in DeSoto.

In her report to the DeSoto chief, Robinson claimed that Edmison refused to follow directions and argued with her. She suspected that Edmison was changing records during the audit to cover up the missing items. These suspicions led to an investigation, which began on his last day with DeSoto PD.

DeSoto PD found additional red flags in the audit, including over 3,000 items destroyed without proper documentation, 1,200 items unaccounted for, and a number of criminal cases dismissed due to missing evidence.

Some of the missing evidence is linked to a January 2022 murder case in which a man was shot and killed in his home in DeSoto. Evidence collected at the scene included several bags of marijuana, which were stored in the department’s property room as evidence in the capital murder case. The drugs were discovered missing during the April 2022 audit, four months after the crime took place, according to CBS News Texas.

Five months after the audit, Edmison was put on leave at the Midlothian Police Department after the DeSoto chief contacted Edmison’s new place of employment.

In December 2022, DeSoto PD took Edmison to court, charging him with theft based on the ongoing investigations. However, the grand jury decided not to move the case to trial, according to CBS.

Midlothian PD eventually fired Edmison in September 2023 after DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa contacted the department to notify it of the findings. In the meantime, Edmison had collected $51,776.92 during his 11-month paid leave.

DeSoto PD decided to reopen its case against him earlier this year after an informant told them that Edmison had been stealing from the property room for years and often gave the stolen items away as gifts.

In April of this year, DeSoto police reportedly found 13 guns, various power tools, and a compressor in Edmison’s home, all stolen from the property room, per WFAA. Edmison was eventually charged with 13 counts of theft of a firearm.

In nearby Dallas, the police department faces struggles of its own, including a chronic shortage of police officers, which has affected its response times, as reported by The Dallas Express. The Dallas Police Department fields approximately 3,000 officers, despite a city analysis that indicates Dallas should have about 4,000 officers to effectively manage crime.