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Ex-Waukesha sheriff officer charged with theft

April 1, 2014

A former lieutenant with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department was accused last week in a prescription pill theft and with obstructing state authorities investigating the incident.

Sarah L. Massa, 36, of Mukwonago was charged March 25 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with misdemeanor theft and obstructing an officer, also a misdemeanor.

She could face 18 months in prison and $20,000 in fines if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha Police contacted state authorities last year about the theft of opiate medication from the McDermott residence at 1501 Pewaukee Rd., Waukesha.

Massa was suspected of stealing the medication, which was prescribed to her grandmother, Leona McDermott, to treat pain related to terminal cancer, the complaint states.

Donald McDermott, Massa's grandfather, told investigators that about 60 pills had gone missing after a Fourth of July party was held at the residence. He discovered that another 58 pills had gone missing in September.

In both instances Massa was at the home around the time the pills went missing. He said in the complaint that his granddaughter was a "good kid," but she suffered from back pain and "something was going on."

Investigators places a covert camera and a bottle of placebo pills in Donald McDermott's bedroom in October and pills again went missing on Nov. 13.

Investigators reviewed the tape, which the complaint states was "very dark," but it showed an individual in a police uniform with a gun holster entering the room and removing the fake pills from a nightstand.

Donald McDermott told investigators that Massa was at the residence at the time in question and identified the person as his granddaughter based on her profile.

Investigators spoke with Massa on Nov. 18. She told investigators in the complaint that she suspected her aunt was stealing the medication. She later admitted to taking the pills from the room, but claimed she knew they were not Percocet. When asked what she did with the pills, she said she consumed them all at once.

Massa went to her grandparent's house on Nov. 21 and tried to talk Donald McDermott into dropping the charges, the complaint states. He told investigators that she admitted to taking the pills at that time.

Massa resigned from the sheriff's department on Wednesday, March 5.

Her husband, Chris Massa, was an officer with the Waukesha Police Department until he resigned in late February. Police Chief Russell Jack said in a news release he was being investigated at the time for sending sexually suggestive pictures or texts to his wife while on duty.

"Based on the information available we believe that we would have been able to substantiate the charges against him, and the investigation would have resulted in discipline up to and including termination," he said.

The evidence that initiated that internal investigation, now closed, was located on his wife's phone.

According to court records, the case against Massa will be prosecuted by District Attorney Brad Schimel.

She is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Monday, April 7.

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