by Allen Powell II
New Orleans bureau
March 01, 2013
Gretna — The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office arrested and fired one of its deputies Monday after authorities say the man stole electronic equipment from the department’s evidence section.
George Hernandez Sr., 54, was booked with felony theft after investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Slidell police and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office found several items at his Slidell home that they believe were stolen, said Col. John Fortunato, a sheriff’s spokesman. Sheriff Newell Normand ordered Hernandez’s termination shortly after he was booked.
Fortunato said the Sheriff’s Office received a tip from an associate of Hernandez’s that Hernandez had been stealing electronic equipment from the Sheriff’s Office. Hernandez worked in the property and evidence division at the Sheriff’s Office and had been with the department since 1997.
Fortunato said authorities began investigating the complaint Friday and were able to get a search warrant for Hernandez’s home and a secondary location where property was believed to be held. Fortunato said numerous items were recovered at the locations, and authorities are still trying to identify them. He would not provide any details on the items stolen.
Hernandez was questioned about the property and about the allegations made against him, Fortunato said. During that questioning, he said that Hernandez made a partial confession to stealing items from the Sheriff’s Office, although Fortunato said investigators do not believe he was being completely truthful.
Fortunato said authorities are still investigating the case and are urging anyone with information to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 364-5300 or Crime Stoppers at (504) 822-1111.