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Port St. Lucie police investigate three department employees

Presser evidence techs.JPG

A press conference will be held at the Port St. Lucie Police Department on Friday at 10 a.m. to discuss the investigation. (WPEC)

Three Port St. Lucie Police Department evidence technicians have posted bond after being arrested Wednesday on accusations of misconduct, according to police.

"I am deeply disturbed," said Chief John Bolduc at a Friday news conference. "While a couple of individuals can severely damage the reputation of an organization, I think how the organization deals with the missteps of the organization is most important."

Thomas LaBelle Jr., 43, Vernal Taylor, 55, and Jeffrey Hunter, 58, are accused of improperly disposing of evidence, either converting it to their own personal use or selling it when should've been either returned to the owners or destroyed, according to police. The items included pellet guns, magazines or firearms, tools, sporting equipment, electric toothbrushes, razors, and other household items.

"We are an accredited organization and there a very specific set of protocols that are supposed to be followed," said Chief Bolduc. "I will tell you that this incident has caused us to reevaluate."

LaBelle and Taylor are facing charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud, according to police. Hunter was charged with grand theft.

Police say all three were placed on administrative leave during the investigation after accusations of improper disposal of evidence were brought to supervisors' attention back in May.