Former Summerville cop convicted of taking guns, money from evidence room

A former Summerville police officer was convicted on Thursday for stealing guns and over $7,000 from the agency’s evidence room.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 6:51 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2023 at 11:23 PM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A former Summerville police officer was convicted on Thursday for stealing guns and over $7,000 from the agency’s evidence room.

Wade Franklin Rollings, 47, pleaded guilty in General Sessions Court to two charges of misconduct in office and one charge of grand larceny, according to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He also pleaded guilty to breach of trust with fraudulent intent in an unrelated case.

Rollings was an evidence custodian with the Summerville Police Department when he reported in Dec. 2020 that $7,439 was missing from an evidence room safe.

Related: Report: Former Summerville police sergeant had stolen evidence money in his pants

The solicitor’s office says an internal investigation revealed that Rollings was actually the culprit, entering false information into a case management system to make it appear as though another employee had authorized the release of the funds.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Summerville’s municipal government state that Rollings was being interviewed by other Summerville Police employees about the lost money when he was shown a system log.

“When Rollings was provided with this new information, his demeanor quickly changed,” the report says. “He put his head down and stated ‘ok, I need to tell you something.’”

Rollings made a full confession, according to a news release from the solicitor’s office. He was fired and charged with misconduct in office.

A follow-up investigation of the evidence room, with the assistance of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, revealed that Rollings also had taken several firearms from the evidence room and sold them at nearby pawn shops.

Lowcountry attorney Mark Peper says this cast a shadow of doubt in any case Rollings was involved in.

Related: ‘The evidence is compromised’: Officials speak on evidence allegedly stolen by ex-Summerville officer

But the solicitor’s office says that is not where this story ends.

While awaiting trial, Rollings then went to work for an agricultural retailer in Berkeley County. He then set up fake merchandise returns, generating refunds from the store to customers who never existed, the news release states.

In total, Rollings did this four times, stealing around $2,500, according to court findings.

“Although these were his first offenses, crimes committed by police officers undermine the judicial system by eroding public confidence,” Sean Thornton of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case, said. “Therefore, prison time was appropriate in this situation.”

Rollings was sentenced to 10 years in prison, suspended to one year of active time and subsequent probation, which means he will serve one year in prison with 9 years of probation.

The Summerville Police Department issued the follow statement on the sentencing:

Chief Douglas Wright denounces all police misconduct. It discredits and erodes the public trust of our noble profession. The Summerville Police Department will continue to keep integrity, accountability and community relationships as priorities.