Former Worthington police Chief William DeForte Jr. will stand trial for theft following a decision Tuesday by Armstrong President Judge Kenneth Valasek to deny his petition to dismiss all charges.
DeForte, 43, of Clinton, is accused of stealing from the police department when he worked there from 2009 to 2012. DeForte allegedly removed cash from a police department evidence locker and is accused of selling a rifle part that belonged to the borough. He is charged with felony theft.
Other charges involving missing police radios and chargers were dismissed by the judge.
“It is sheer speculation to conclude that the defendant took them,” said Valasek in his written ruling.
On the felony charges, Valasek ruled there was enough evidence presented to send the case to trial. His ruling cited the following:
• There was evidence showing DeForte transferred possession of a firearm to another officer “knowing at the time that he had no authority to do so, thereby supporting a possible conclusion that he unlawfully took and exercised unlawful control over the firearm with the intent of depriving the borough of property.”
• That DeForte claimed to own the gun and transferred ownership to the officer to avoid returning $1,500 paid by the officer for a different gun that did not work.
• That DeForte was the only person with a key to the evidence locker and that his was the only signature on the evidence log from which $540 in cash was missing.
A trial date has not been set.