Pinellas deputy is accused of pawning service weapon, stealing drugs

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) - A Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputy is accused of pawning his service weapon and stealing drugs.

Steve Smith, 32, is off the job. He's charged with two counts of felony grand theft and one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested Wednesday and posted bond Thursday around 3 a.m.

Smith worked as a patrol deputy and a narcotics deputy. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Smith had been assigned desk duty after his performance started falling off.

Now Smith is accused of stealing Oxycodone pills from a citizen who brought them to the Dunedin substation. He was supposed to destroy the pills. They'd come from a person who had died.

"Through various investigative techniques, detectives discovered that Deputy Smith, while working at the front desk of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office North District Station in Dunedin on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, received numerous bottles of unused prescription medication for disposal from family members of a deceased woman, who recently passed away. The woman's name matched the name on the pill bottle found by Deputy Smith's girlfriend," a Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said.

It's the former deputy's girlfriend who tipped of investigators and provided law enforcement with a picture of the pills, investigators said.

Smith denied stealing the pills but admitted to having a drug problem, deputies said.

Smith is also accused of pawning a Glock 30, .45 caliber agency-issued firearm at a shop in New Port Richey. The missing weapon was discovered when deputies collected Pinellas County Sheriff's Office property that Smith had. Smith admitted to having pawned the weapon at the New Port Richey Silver Dollar Pawn, investigators said. The weapon was valued at $450, and Smith received $250, according to the sheriff's office.

Smith could face more charges in Pasco County.

"This is an addiction problem, but law enforcement officers and Deputy Sheriffs here in Pinellas County are going to be held to the same standards as anybody else," Sheriff Gualtieri said Thursday. "He needs to face the consequences for his actions and we hope that he gets the help that he needs."

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