WEBER COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A former Weber County evidence clerk who was fired after an investigation found she had stolen drugs from evidence packages for her own use has been charged with 40 related crimes.
Candice Barbara Follum, 48, was charged Tuesday with:
- 20 counts of altering public records by a record keeper, a third-degree felony
- 20 counts of possession or use of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor
According to the probable cause statement, the Weber County Attorney’s Office was notified on Jan. 5 of this year, that nearly a month earlier, Weber County Sheriff’s officials had found Follum under the influence of methamphetamine while on duty. She told officers she had taken the meth from the evidence room, the statement says.
“In a written statement, Mrs. Follum stated, ‘Over the course of 2017, I took drugs (meth) from 15-20 cases located in the evidence room. There is a box containing most of these cases located in the office in the upper cabinet, where the evidence sheets are kept.’
“During a subsequent interview with a Weber County Attorney investigator, Candice Follum admitted that she had become addicted to methamphetamine while working at the Sheriff’s office, and had been stealing from evidence for three years.”
She used meth every other day, she told investigators, and took the drug by eating it. Follum told officials she used drugs only at work.
“A box containing packing was located in the office similar to what Mrs. Follum described,” the probable cause statement says. “However, the box contained packing from approximately 60 different cases. When confronted with the fact that the evidence suggested she took drugs from many more cases, Mrs. Follum acknowledged that it was possible.”
Follum told officials she would take drugs from envelopes in the drug box, then look up the cases to determine if the person was sentenced.
“If the case was closed and she did not think anyone would come looking for the drugs, then that would be a case from which she would take methamphetamine.”
Investigators conducted an audit of the evidence room, examining thousands of items for evidence of tampering.
“As a result of the audit and further criminal investigation, the following crimes were discovered:
“In 38 cases, investigators found evidence packaging which had originally contained methamphetamine that had been unsealed or ripped open and the contents removed. In most of these cases, the original officer at the time seizing drugs conducted a NIK test of the drugs, which tested positive for amphetamines.”
The State Crime Lab tested residue that remained in several of the remaining packages, and confirmed the drugs had been meth, a schedule II drug.
The charges of stealing, destroying or mutilating public records by a custodian stems from the fact that evidence preservation packages were damaged so Follum could remove the contents, and she destroyed the integrity of the system.
“There is a minimum of 46 evidence packages that were altered or destroyed in this case,” the statement says. “Some cases had multiple pieces of evidence which were destroyed.”
Follum’s initial court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 25.