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Ex-police ballistics expert pleads guilty to theft

October 25, 2018

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The former chief firearm ballistics expert for the Delaware State Police was sentenced to a year of probation Thursday after pleading guilty to submitting false time sheets.

Carl Rone, 62, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of theft by false pretense and falsifying business records. He was sentenced to one year of probation on each charge, to run concurrently, and ordered to pay $30,265 restitution.

Rone, appearing in blue jeans and a blue wind breaker, did not speak during the plea hearing.

“It’s a sad day for him,” defense attorney Eugene Maurer told Superior Court Judge Noel Primos.

“He’s been reduced to doing some home improvement jobs in and around the Philadelphia area, and some consulting work,” Maurer added.

Rone had been charged with felony theft over $1,500, but he was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor theft after agreeing to pay $10,000 of the restitution amount immediately. Prosecutors David Hume said Rone has agreed to pay the balance in monthly installments of $400.

Rone, a former Philadelphia police officer, was suspended from his duties with Delaware State Police in January and indicted in May. He is longer with the police force.

Authorities alleged that Rone submitted time sheets for 79 days in 2016 and 2017 when he did not report for work.

Hume said Rone’s actions had cost him his job and tarnished his reputation as a police officer.

“His ability to continue in that career is severely limited by his conduct,” said Hume, who described Rone as “contrite.”

Rone, who was scheduled for trial next week, entered the guilty pleas after the judge last month tossed out cellphone evidence that prosecutors were hoping to use against him.

State police in January obtained a court order under Delaware’s wiretap statute compelling disclosure of Rone’s cellphone records as they investigated the allegations against him. The information included call detail records, with cell site location information for a two-year period from January 2016 to January 2018.

To compel disclosure of the records under the wiretap statute, police had to demonstrate only that there was “reason to believe” they were relevant to a legitimate law enforcement inquiry.

The judge agreed with Rone’s attorney that the compelled disclosure of cell site location information constituted a search without a warrant based on probable cause, and without a legally recognized exception to search warrant requirements.

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