An internal Falls Church police investigation has held two city police officials violated general orders by allowing a coin-collecting officer to take home a gold and silver coin collection that the force had recovered.
Police Chief Stanley Johnson said this week disciplinary action will be taken against Sgt. Robert Tuthill, a 14-year veteran of the force, and his superior, Capt. T.M. Toureau, who allowed Tuthill to keep the coins in his home.
Johnson said, however, that city officials have not yet decided "what form the discipline will take."
The case grows out of the discovery in December 1979 of a collection of gold and silver coins, valued at $800 to $1,000, that were turned over to the police. The coins were then put in a police safe while the owner was sought.
In February or March of this year, Johnson said, Tuthill asked Toureau if he could purchase the coins.
Johnson said Toureau, a 10-year-veteran, told Tuthill, a coin collector, he could have the coins, provided he did not sell them, "in case the owner was found."
On Aug. 11, Johnson said, the owner of the coins was found, and the coins were returned to him. Johnson said the two police officials had violated the department's general orders by taking the coins from the department.
The orders specify that property turned into the department as lost is first advertised and then auctioned after a 90-day period if the owner is not found.
Johnson said the person who told police he found the coins has since been convicted of burglary.