(KOIN) – An Oregon State Police evidence technician is accused of stealing money out of an evidence room in Newport.
Thirty-seven-year-old Paula Diane Bell was taken into custody Wednesday on one count each of first-degree theft and first-degree official misconduct.
According to OSP, on Wednesday morning an employee discovered the evidence room at the Newport Area Command office in a disheveled state, and some of the evidence packaging appeared to have been opened. Investigators later determined that an unconfirmed amount of cash had been taken from the room.
Bell was identified as a suspect and taken into custody by detectives with the OSP Criminal Investigation Division.
Bell has been a technician with OSP since March 2008, OSP disclosed. She has been placed on unpaid leave.
In response to the case, OSP will conduct audits at its evidence rooms in Newport, McMinnville and Tillamook to determine if any more thefts occurred.
OSP did not confirm if Bell is suspected in any other theft incidents. It is also working to confirm if the tampered evidence will impact any current criminal cases.
Bell is lodged in the Lincoln County Jail, and was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon. The Oregon Justice Department has been assigned to prosecute the case.