Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prosecutor wrongly said Hernando sheriff's captain under investigation for stealing money

BROOKSVILLE — An assistant state attorney erred last week when he said in court that a Hernando sheriff's captain is suspected of stealing money.

The prosecutor, Matt Pila, was correct when he told a judge that Capt. Tom Garcia is on paid leave as the Sheriff's Office conducts a criminal investigation into its Vice and Narcotics Unit, said Assistant State Attorney Donald "Sonny" McCathran.

"But he is not under investigation for stealing money," said McCathran, who oversees the Brooksville office. "That part is not accurate."

The Sheriff's Office announced Nov. 27 that two employees had been placed on paid leave pending a criminal investigation involving the unit. It has not released any other details.

The Times reported Saturday that Garcia's identity was publicly confirmed during a Hernando Circuit Court hearing about a search warrant for a marijuana grow house.

A defense attorney asked a vice detective on the stand if Garcia was under investigation for "stealing money." The detective deferred to Pila, who said Garcia was under investigation. When the defense attorney asked if it was for "a crime involving dishonesty," Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. asked Pila to confirm if "Garcia is under investigation for stealing money."

Pila said yes.

A Sheriff's Office lawyer called McCathran on Monday to say that was incorrect.

McCathran said the Sheriff's Office informed him of the investigation about the time it was launched. He said he relayed to the attorneys in his office the names of the two employees but didn't say who was being investigated for what.

McCathran said he plans to listen to a recording of the hearing and discuss it with Pila.

An 18-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, Garcia was promoted last month to captain and now oversees both the Vice and Major Case units. He could not be reached Tuesday.

Prosecutor wrongly said Hernando sheriff's captain under investigation for stealing money 12/10/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.