A former Charleston County sheriff's deputy pocketed some cash he found while conducting search warrants, according to an arrest record, and now he faces two criminal charges.
State Law Enforcement Division investigators on Monday arrested Troy Leo Capps, 43, of North Charleston, on charges of grand larceny and misconduct in office. An arrest warrant said he took the money from bedrooms during searches of homes on Tedder Street in North Charleston and Curtiss Avenue in Charleston in October.
Officials later recovered cash on Capps and in his department car, the warrant said. Capps took more than $1,000 but less than $5,000, according to the warrant.
Capps previously worked for police in Isle of Palms and North Charleston. He was hired by the sheriff's office on Nov. 21, 2008, and transferred into the narcotics unit a year ago, Sheriff Al Cannon said.
Cannon said he's "greatly disappointed" in Capps, but maintained the arrest shows that the sheriff's office's policies and procedures intend to prevent and detect any malfeasance by employees.
He said the alleged theft was uncovered through the sheriff's office's routine internal oversight procedures. Cannon's office regularly audits all its criminal cases and property confiscations, he said.
"The proper policies and procedures are in place. We ourselves discovered the situation and acted appropriately, and it did not grow out of a compliant or any outside agency," Cannon said.
Cannon would not say exactly how the case against Capps was made, but said the sheriff's office turned its findings over to SLED, which made the arrest. The sheriff's office continues to consult with SLED and the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office about the case and any effect it might have on ongoing cases and investigations, Cannon said.
But, Cannon said, he knows of no pending or completed prosecutions that could be affected by the case against Capps.
Cannon said the arrest hits him personally. He trusted the former deputy, and there is "history" between the two.
"He coached my kids when they were small, in baseball," the sheriff said.
Capps, Cannon said, went through the same hiring procedures as all sheriff's office employees, including background and credit checks, a polygraph and psychological screening. There were some "issues" regarding Capps' previous employment, "but none rose to the level that would dictate not hiring him," Cannon said.
Under sheriff's office rules, he said, "one person is never completely in charge of a case," and that policy is designed to curtail any notions among deputies that they could take confiscated money or valuables for themselves.
Cannon said that, like many who have families and children but not a lot of money, deputies often face "financial challenges." For undercover narcotics officers, like Capps, the job is additionally dangerous and difficult, and rules sometimes blur, Cannon said.
He said undercover operatives must step into a seedy underworld and convincingly play their roles in order to win the confidence of the drug dealers from whom they are trying to gather evidence.
"You've got to act like a criminal, but at the same time, you have to know where that line ends," Cannon added.
Supervisors placed Capps on administrative leave with pay on Oct. 27, the day of the second alleged theft.
Sheriff's officials contacted state investigators Oct. 31 after learning of the possible violation. On Nov. 2, following an internal investigation, his status was changed to administrative leave without pay, Cannon said.
Capps, who resigned Dec. 1, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Capps shot at a man who tussled with him and grabbed his pistol in 2001. He made headlines again in 2006 when he and another officer used Tasers and chemical spray to try to subdue 38-year-old Kip Black, who cried out for help while circling a utility pole near Rivers and Reynolds avenues.
Police said Black began taking off his clothes. When officers approached, he began chewing on his driver's license and running into traffic. The Tasers and spray had little effect, and four officers eventually took the 240-pound man to the ground.
Black died at a hospital from "excited delirium syndrome" that the Charleston County Coroner's Office attributed to cocaine use. Authorities determined the next year that Capps and the other officer acted appropriately.