Auditor Is Detained in Alleged Shoplifting — (The Evansville Courier)

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The Evansville Courier (IN)

April 14, 1994

Author: BYRON ROHRIG, Courier staff writer

Sam Humphrey, the Vanderburgh County auditor under fire for errors that contributed to the county’s current financial woes, was stopped and detained at a department store Tuesday afternoon on suspicion of shoplifting.

A police report said Humphrey was stopped by a security employee outside Sears, Roebuck and Co. about 2:30 p.m. Humphrey was carrying a socket wrench and two sockets worth about $15, allegedly taken from the store’s tool department, the report said.

Humphrey was not arrested and was allowed to go home from the store, police said.

Humphrey’s attorney David Bunner on Wednesday called the incident ”inadvertent.” He said Humphrey had been prescribed the drug Prozac for treatment of depression, brought on by recent family crises. The auditor’s wife is terminally ill and was placed in a nursing home a few months ago. Humphrey was left alone to care for a son who suffers from Down’s syndrome, Bunner said. Humphrey was unavailable for comment, Bunner said. “He very much regrets this incident occurred, and is hopeful his friends and family will understand the situation.”

The store’s security official, Derek S. Moore, told police Humphrey was seen on a security camera removing a socket wrench from its package and returning the package to the display shelf while concealing the wrench in his right hand, then placing the item in his coat pocket.

Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco said he was told about the incident “informally” on Wednesday. He said will evaluate the police investigation file and decide if a formal charge is warranted.

A police source said when businesses agree, officers sometimes don’t arrest shoplifting suspects if the accused can be clearly identified and is likely to remain in the area.

Humphrey, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election as county auditor, but is the slated candidate for Knight Township trustee and is unopposed in the May primary.

Last year, Humphrey failed to advertise a 5 cent tax to create a fund to repair and maintain county buildings. The Indiana Legislature passed a bill that in effect forgave the error.

But the state later informed the county that an estimated $530,000 expected to be raised through the new tax must be offset by a like reduction in the general fund, imperiling payrolls and day-to-day county operations. Humphrey had assured county commissioners the new tax wouldn’t affect the general fund.

Copyright (c) 1994 Courier and Press
Record Number:  9401060861