DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Financial struggles and on-the-job stress may have led to a narcotics officer allegedly faking his disappearance to cover up a theft.
A 22-year veteran of the Decatur Police Department, Sgt. Faron White was arrested at a Las Vegas hotel early Tuesday morning. Now his comrades are figuring out what happened before and after he disappeared on Saturday.
"When we have to investigate one of our own, it's tough on us," said Decatur Police Chief Ken Collier.
On Saturday morning, White's family reported him missing. After that, investigators discovered what appeared to be a crime scene at the Decatur Police Training Center. White's office had been ransacked and about $2,500 in cash was missing.
Investigators assumed the worst and began an intense search. But officers took a closer look at the evidence and discovered the scene in White's office had been staged.
"The investigators in this case didn't fall off the pumping truck last week," Collier said. "They saw things that bothered them early on."
On Monday evening, investigators said they learned the truth -- White had taken off to Las Vegas with the alleged stolen drug money from his office. Police also discovered that White didn't act alone.
Police officials said Sarah Elizabeth Richardson, who was involved in a romantic relationship with White and volunteered in the narcotics unit, helped him get away. That was disheartening news to friends and coworkers.
"He had developed a very high regard throughout the law enforcement community throughout the years," Collier said. "Held in high regard. This is devastating."
White is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where his bond is set at $20,000. An extradiction hearing will be held Wednesday morning.
He has been charged with first-degree theft, which is punishable with two to 20 years in prison if convicted. Decatur Police say more charges are possible.