Simpsonville, KY — Guns, drugs, and $30,000 stolen from an evidence locker at the Simpsonville Police Department on November 6th had police and the community scratching their heads — until Kentucky State Police apparently solved the mystery when they arrested award-winning Officer Terry Putnam on the job last week.
Putnam, however, maintains his innocence.
“Didn’t do it. That’s all I can say,” Putnam stated as news crews filmed him being loaded into the back of a police cruiser after his arrest January 7.
While a police officer stealing from his own department seemed shocking to most people, some of Putnam’s neighbors weren’t so surprised.
“You know, I said all along that I thought he had something to do with it,” neighbor Cary Dobbs told WLKY. “And come to find out, it might be true.”
Dobbs, who lives down the street, watched as investigators searched the officer’s home the day the officer was arrested and said he’d had issues with Putnam previously. “I mean, it’s kind of bad because he’s the one that’s supposed to be protecting and serving and here all along, he’s out harassing people and doing drugs and you know, he’s the one stealing them,” he said.
Though not originally believed to be an inside job, Putnam — an officer with 23 years of experience, including two and a half years on the Simpsonville force — is now the sole suspect.
“When they arrived on scene, [the burglary] appeared to be a forced entry, but through the investigation, I think that’s changed,”stated KSP Trooper Bernie Napier. Putnam is charged with several counts of theft, criminal mischief, and tampering with evidence. As part of the investigation, all Simpsonville officers submitted to polygraph tests, though the findings have not been made public.
On Tuesday, Putnam appeared before a judge to request a lower bond because he’s been receiving threats in the Oldham County jail — since he’s a cop.
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“His incarceration is much worse than anyone else’s in that position, because of 24-7, lights-on isolation, not because of specifically anything he did in the jail, but based upon what he did for a living prior to this charge,” attorney Brian Butler told the court. “He’s advised me he’s already had three credible threats made by inmates in that jail.”
Bond for the officer has been set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 in property.
“But a person who has been acting as a police officer for as many years as [Officer Putnam], surely he should have taken that into consideration when he chose to steal from the evidence room,” argued prosecuting attorney Laura Witt.
The judge denied the request for lower bond, and Putnam is due for another court appearance later this month.
“It probably does put us in a little bit of a bad light,” Trooper Napier said. “I think the light that should show, is that we’re willing to police our own.”
Larry Sutherland, who lives behind the Simpsonville Police Dept., was disappointed to find out a cop was responsible for the crime. He asked rhetorically, “If you can’t trust the people in your backyard who are supposed to protect your community, who can you trust?”
The irony here is that the $30K in cash, the drugs, and the guns were all stolen from someone else by this department. However, since this theft was sanctioned by the state, it's called justice.
What should also be pointed out is that had Putnam not stolen from his own peers, and simply taken the money from someone off the street, his fellow officers would have likely looked the other way.