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Waynesboro officer charged in theft of workers comp checks

September 08, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Derek Matthew Lange
Submitted photo,

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A Waynesboro police officer was arrested Tuesday on a theft charge that alleges he stole more than $22,000 in workers compensation benefit checks, according to a news release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

Derek Matthew Lange, 31, was arraigned Tuesday by Magisterial District Judge Kelly Rock and released on $15,000 bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 1 p.m.

Lange legally was required to sign the checks over to the Borough of Waynesboro, the news release stated.

According to the criminal complaint, Lange injured his hand, wrist, knee and face when he fell during a foot pursuit in August 2009. He was treated at Waynesboro Hospital and referred to a hand specialist.

Lange, a Waynesboro officer since June 2005, began receiving workers compensation benefits when the specialist advised he should remain off work during an initial surgery and because of ongoing problems after that, the affidavit of probable cause states.

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Attorney General Tom Corbett said in the news release that Lange was entitled to receive his regular salary provided he sign over any workers compensation checks he received.

Of 18 checks received between Sept. 7, 2009, and May 3, 2010, Lange signed over three to the borough and deposited the others into his personal bank account, Corbett alleged.

Borough staff contacted the municipality's insurance company to find out if checks were being issued biweekly, since the borough had not received checks regularly from Lange, the affidavit states.

Lange is charged with one count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.

Lange was working full time when injured, Mayor Richard Starliper said.

Starliper, who oversees the police department, said Lange was on unpaid leave. He declined to comment on the investigation.

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