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Former Morehouse Parish deputy arrested

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BASTROP, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Former Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Deputy Chris Balsamo has been taken into custody.

Chris Balsamo is well known in the community and to the media as a narcotics investigator and deputy of nearly 15 years, but Morehouse Parish Sheriff Mike Tubbs tells KNOE that Balsamo is in custody.

"Recently in the past six to eight weeks, it has been brought to our attention as well as other agencies, that monies that should have been deposited in an account outside of the sheriff's office control, had never been deposited into those accounts," says Tubbs.

Through a public records request, KNOE obtained a resignation letter dated November 7th, 2011. In it, Balsamo says "I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve this office and the people of Morehouse Parish."

Sheriff Tubbs says the resignation came after it was discovered that Balsamo stole $500 from the narcotics evidence locker. That's when Balsamo moved to Texas to work find work in another industry.

At the time of Balsamo's resignation, the agency thought the extent of the theft was just $500 until now. According to the latest arrest warrant for Balsamo, he faces charges of "unauthorized use of a moveable."

The warrant goes on to say "The funds were seized from a narcotics investigation conducted by the North Louisiana Drug Enforcement Bureau in 2009."

In that bust, $17,788 was seized. The arrest warrant says "On November 1, 2013, Chris Balsamo, after being mirandized, confessed to taking the $17,788 being held in the NLDEB evidence vault."

"I don't think anybody gets into any business with the intent of doing the wrong thing, but I think when there's opportunity you know we all can fall on hard times and then we have that temporary lapse in judgement and then we do something that ruins our career's and it affects the rest of our lives and it also affects our families and our livelihoods," says Sheriff Tubbs.

Now, Tubbs says if it weren't for one employee who was simply running down through some check lists only to find a couple pools of missing money, the theft may not have ever been discovered.

"I think it was placed in temporary secured storage that one person has access to and again, it just gives the opportunity for theft," says Tubbs.

The Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office is now hoping Balsamo makes restitution, because at this point, the sheriff's office just wants their money back.

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