(KMOV) – The East St. Louis, Alorton, Brooklyn, and Washington Park police departments are requesting to have a shared evidence vault after their old evidence vaults were found covered in sewage.
“These are areas that have been broken into and things have been stolen,” said States Attorney Brendan Kelly. “Those conditions are something we cannot allow to happen again.”
Police say animal feces and carcasses, sewage, thefts and break-ins by homeless people and crooks have all added to the vaults' current conditions. Investigators even said they had to destroy their clothing after entering the vaults because the stench was overwhelming.
Kelly says these vaults are where items, such as guns and evidence, of very serious crimes are stored and much of it is missing. He says there is a risk that evidence dating before 2008 could be so degraded it may not be in a condition to be used in court.
A resolution was passed asking the state of Illinois for funds to either construct a new vault or use a building that already exists. One proposed idea is to use the old East St. Louis police department building which has been closed for 20 years, turning it into one giant shared evidence room for the four departments.
If the departments decide to share an evidence room, it would give police chiefs the resources to clean out and catalog the unsanitary spaces.