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BCI ends investigation of tossed-out case files



Published: Wed, April 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Detective John Norman, who was working with BCI, said officials have decided to close the case.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- The case of the purloined police files is over.

Turns out it was really the case of magnified mistakes.

Some city officials made a mistake when they thought the files had been stolen.

The person who threw away the files also made a mistake.

And unless the state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation made a mistake, there was no crime committed.

Agents from the state BCI and city detectives determined Tuesday there was no criminal intent when files dealing with a missing woman's case were tossed into the trash at Girard Police Department in February.

What happened

BCI officials were called to look into the matter last month after an internal police investigation led authorities to believe some of the files, dealing with a missing woman's case, might have been stolen.

However, Detective John Norman, who was working with BCI, said Tuesday that officials have decided to close the case.

"We found that there was no criminal intent on anyone's part," Norman said.

Mayor James Melfi said he has not yet talked to Norman about the case, so he could not comment.

The detective stated that the files on Charlotte Nagi-Pollis' case were among hundreds of old police records that had been locked in a room since the police department moved three years ago from its Main Street quarters to the first floor of the new justice center.

Nagi-Pollis was reported missing in March 1994.

"The file was put in there for safekeeping and shouldn't have been tossed out," Norman said.

The detective said there should have been a better checks and balances system in place so that the files wouldn't have been thrown away.

The majority of the files that were going to be tossed out were old completed cases, old mug shots and police schedules.

Phone call

A brother of Nagi-Pollis' received a call Feb. 26 telling him files on his sister's case were in a trash bin behind the police building.

Norman said he doesn't know who called Nagi-Pollis' brother.

The brother and his friend went to the trash bin and eventually located the files.

Nagi's friend grabbed 29 files when he was searching for the Nagi-Pollis case. A review of some of those files by The Vindicator showed they were closed cases from the late 1990s. The cases contained written notes and arrest sheets, and in some cases, such as a suicide, there were pictures.

The files were returned to the police department last month and shredded, Norman said.

The mayor said the cases hadn't been shredded before because the city doesn't have a shredder that can handle such a large amount of paperwork.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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