Missing Pflugerville money tied to game room bust

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PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) – Cash missing from the city of Pflugerville’s police evidence room is tied to a police raid of an alleged game room that dates back more than six years, newly-released court filings show. The funds were originally seized as evidence during a joint operation in September of 2010 between Pflugerville police and the State Comptroller’s Office, a city email reveals.

The city released the new information Wednesday as part of a public legal notice announcing an upcoming hearing in January to determine the rightful owner of the cash. A municipal court judge will listen to those who think the money might be theirs. If no determination is made, the funds (provided they’re located) would go into city coffers. No city official will go on the record to say how much money was seized in the ‘game room inspection’ — at least not until after the upcoming property disposition hearing.

“Releasing any more details about the money, or the circumstances surrounding its seizure may interfere with the upcoming hearing; therefore, to allow the true owner(s) every opportunity to recover this money, the city will not comment further on this motion or the posting,” wrote Terri Toledo, city spokesperson.

City on the hook?

If someone does make a successful claim and the funds remain missing, the city’s attorney tells KXAN News the city could be on the hook to make that claimant whole.

State Code of Criminal Procedure governs how unclaimed or abandoned property is to be handled including sending a letter to an owner’s last known address and putting a notice in local newspapers. In Pflugerville’s case, the police chief is responsible for the safe keeping of unclaimed property.The city attorney says typically unclaimed property is disposed of with no delay.

George Hyde says it’s believed the money may have slipped between the cracks since Pflugerville PD was assisting another agency in the game room operation — in this case the Texas Comptroller’s Office.

The city manager told KXAN News, the Texas Rangers are expected to wrap up their investigation into the missing money within weeks to see if there is any criminal wrongdoing. If someone is deemed liable, the court could order that individual to pay restitution to the city if there is a pay-out to a claimant.

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