SBI investigating Harnett evidence 'irregularities'

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats says he's become aware of "record irregularities regarding record keeping involving evidence custodians" within his department.

"As Sheriff I took immediate steps to investigate the information provided and to secure the evidence room," he said in a news release.

Coats said the SBI and the District Attorney have been told, and the issue involves staff employees and not sworn deputies.

The sheriff also said there's no indication any evidence was lost or tampered with and it's not believed the irregularities involve a large number of cases.

"We will work with, and continue to provide information to, the SBI and the District Attorney's Office," said Coats.

Coats took over from Sheriff Larry Rollins in March when Rollins announced he was stepping down.

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Federal investigators are also looking at the use of force by the Harnett County Sheriff's Office after questions were raised about the way multiple death investigations were handled.

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