Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County -- "Any amount of money that's missing is important to the taxpayer." Luzerne County Controller Walter Mitchell is frustrated about the circumstances surrounding $375 taken from the county sheriff's petty cash fund. "I don't think it's the amount of money as much as it is the oversight of policy of procedure that allowed it to happen," said Mitchell.
Former Lieutenant Sheriff Donald Lasoski took the money without any documentation or an independent party overseeing the process. When confronted last week, Lasoski replaced the missing funds and resigned. Mitchell says he e-mailed Luzerne County Sheriff Jack Robshaw on Thursday a list of questions about the sheriff's department accounting practices. "When we get that response, our staff will look closely at it and if we feel there's something that's missing in that process then we will report it back to the sheriff's office."
It's not just missing money that's a concern. County officials also question what's going to become of the K-9 bomb sniffing dog under the watchful care of former Lt. Sheriff Lasoski. The dog believed to still be in the hands of Lasoski is Luzerne County property. It's also a potential liability to the county unless the county signs off on Lasoski or someone else taking ownership or other arrangements have been made. Mitchell has faith this matter will be resolved and won't be repeated. "Hopefully in the future something like this won't happen again." Mitchell says he hopes to hear back from the sheriff on Friday.
Mitchell says a full forensic audit of the sheriff's department is a possibility but would rather resolve the issue without costing taxpayers a major expense. Meanwhile, Sheriff Robshaw declined an Eyewitness News request for an on camera interview on Thursday saying it's a human resources issue. He referred questions to county solicitor David Pedri. Eyewitness News was unable to reach Attorney Pedri on Thursday for a response.