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Former Montana State Crime Lab employee accused of stealing pill - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Former Montana State Crime Lab employee accused of stealing pills, could impact Billings defendants

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Steve Brester worked for the Missoula PD until 2012 (MTN News) Steve Brester worked for the Missoula PD until 2012 (MTN News)
BILLINGS -

A former Montana Crime Lab employee is suspected of stealing drugs in as many as 50 cases, the Attorney General’s Office confirmed Friday.

Steve Brester, a former Missoula Police Lieutenant, is under investigation by the state Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Division.

Brester was employed with the crime lab as an evidence technician in September of 2014 and was terminated in June of 2015.

Over the period of nine months that Brester worked for the crime lab, he’s accused of stealing pills that were submitted for evidence in a number of cases across the state.

“At this point there is no reason to believe the tampering went beyond approximately 50 drug cases,” said DOJ Director of Communications Jon Barnes in an email.

The exact number of cases affected has not yet been determined.

Barnes said the prosecuting county attorneys where the cases are affected have been notified of the issue.

The absence of evidence in open drug cases could hinder prosecution.

The cases impacted are not limited to Missoula County and could include Yellowstone County cases.

Barnes said the investigation is still underway and has not been forwarded to a prosecutor yet for consideration of charges.

Brester is the only person accused of the tampering allegations.

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