Glendale police say property room water leak didn’t compromise any cases

Oct 20, 2023, 10:20 AM

PHOENIX — Police in Glendale are confident no cases were affected by a water leak that damaged the department’s property room earlier this year.

“We want the public to know that absolutely no cases have been compromised by this water,” Sgt. Randy Stewart said during a press conference Thursday afternoon. “This was a simple situation where water leaked on evidence, the evidence was removed and repackaged, and, once again, no cases were compromised.”

Police examined evidence from about 1,000 cases for damage and found about 150 impacted by the leak. Fewer than 20 of the impacted cases were for homicide or sexual assault.

Sexual assault kits are kept in refrigeration units and weren’t affected by the water.

What caused water leak at Glendale police facility?

The water was discovered July 12 around 2 a.m., when the property room wasn’t staffed, by an officer who came in to log property.

It turns out the leak was fresh water from a line in the ceiling connected to the air conditioning system.

Stewart said staff carefully examined all the impacted evidence, documenting the steps along the way. Everything was dried out and, if necessary, repackaged during a time-consuming effort.

The biggest concern was for clothing evidence, Stewart said. Police made sure everything was completely dry before being repackaged to prevent mold that could contaminate the evidence.

Could Glendale property room water leak affect court cases?

The Glendale Police Department headquarters, which was built in 1989, is located near Glendale and Grand avenues.

The property room is used to store evidence for investigators and court cases. A lot of the logged property is kept in manila envelopes, which are placed on shelves or, for bigger cases, in boxes.

“Some of the damage was just on the very corner of the envelopes,” Stewart said.

No court cases have been delayed as a result of the leak, Stewart said.

The department notified the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office soon after it happened, and the prosecutorial agency didn’t express any concerns about cases being affected, Stewart said.

“Could something get argued later? That’s up to a defense [attorney] … to argue anything like that. But as far as our detectives that were involved in that, [they] do not believe that’s going to cause any issues going forward,” he said.

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Glendale police say property room water leak didn’t compromise any cases