KILLEEN, Texas — A Killeen couple lost thousands of dollars after their business truck, and tools were stolen in December. Thieves found a checkbook in the vehicle and attempted to cash a fraudulent check at the couple’s bank.
Jennifer Bannister, a local woman who owns a farm with her husband Charles, said law enforcement in Travis county found the truck around three weeks later, but the Killeen Police Department’s investigation still hadn't even started.
"The morning that we went to get the truck, we in the police department to try to get a copy of the paperwork." Bannister said. "All they had was the initial report."
It wasn't until that night, Bannister said, that she finally got an explanation on what happened with her case. Bannister said, according to Killeen PD, a computer system assigned their case to a detective had already left for a three-week holiday vacation. Bannister said her bank had provided excellent photos of the forgery suspect, but they went unused for over three weeks until the detective was finally available.
"They took the initial report and that was it… until she got back from vacation. Regardless of what evidence was available at that time. Regardless of what evidence was available since," Bannister said.
Finally on January 7th, Bannister got a call. She said she does not blame the detective, and the detective has done a great job since.
"She called us back the next morning. She was on the phone with us at 8:15 she was here at the house looking at the truck by 8:30. She has been really, really good," Bannister said.
6 News reached out to Killeen PD Wednesday and specifically asked how cases are assigned and why this case was assigned to a detective who was on vacation. Killeen PD emailed a response:
"The Killeen Police Department does not have an automated system to assign cases to individual detectives. The Criminal Investigative Division Sergeant for the investigative units review cases and assign them based on the information in the case and the available detectives. Killeen Police employees will, from time to time be unavailable, in federal court or district or county court, in training, etc. Often times, a case is assigned and the detective will immediately begin investigating and contact the complainant after starting the investigation. The victim in this case fully cooperated with the detective and they both worked the case to a successful conclusion."
The department did not respond to follow up questions.
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