- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pennsylvania state trooper under investigation for allegedly stealing drugs from people he pulled over has been arrested in a sting in which investigators planted fake painkillers in a “stolen” car and caught him on camera taking the pill bottle.

The state attorney general’s office announced the charges Thursday against Trooper Glenn Vaughn, 33, of New Wilmington. Prosecutors say in the criminal complaint that Vaughn is addicted to drugs and that he admitted after his arrest Tuesday when he got off work that he had taken the bottle and ingested some of the pills.

Vaughn, a seven-year veteran, worked out of the New Castle barracks about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh; he was suspended without pay, state police officials said. He has a Sept. 15 preliminary hearing on charges including drug possession, theft, evidence tampering, and obstructing the administration of law.

Vaughn didn’t return a message left on his cellphone, and his home telephone answering machine was full and was not accepting messages Thursday. Also, online court records didn’t list an attorney for him who could comment on his behalf.

The criminal complaint says state police received information in June that Vaughn stole drugs from one motorist, and received information in August about similar events.

“The information indicated that his addiction progressed to the point that he was purchasing heroin to fuel his addiction,” the complaint said.

In the probe, investigators planted a state-owned car in a remote area to look like an abandoned stolen vehicle, according to the complaint. The car was filled with personal items and a bottle with phony OxyContin pills. Vaughn was sent Tuesday to investigate, and a video camera hidden in the car recorded his actions, the complaint said.

Vaughn was at the scene for about 30 minutes before a tow truck arrived. The complaint said undercover officers went to the towing company’s garage and found the fake OxyContin pills were missing, and the camera showed Vaughn taking the bottle.

Investigators watching Vaughn as he continued his shift saw him park his police cruiser at the barracks then put something in his personal vehicle. Investigators stopped him when he finished his shift, searched his vehicle and found three pills missing from the bottle of fake narcotics. They say Vaughn admitted stealing the bottle and taking two or more of the pills, the complaint said.

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