Ex-officer charged in theft
A former East Brewton police officer has been arrested and charged in connection with the March burglary of Fred’s pharmacy, named by his brother as as an accomplice in the crime, which was committed while the officer was on duty.
Matthew Kirk, 36, of 118 Duncan St. in East Brewton and a former lieutenant with the EBPD was arrested Tuesday after the grand jury indicted him this month on two counts of third-degree burglary; one count of second-degree theft of property and one count of an ethics violation.
Kirk was arrested at his home after his brother, 30-year-old Jason Kirk, named him as an accomplice during his confession to the burglary, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Adam Johnson said. Jason Kirk was arrested April 9 at an Extended Stay Hotel in Pensacola, Fla.
“Lt. (Greg) Forbes and I interviewed Jason Kirk after his arrest in Florida and he confessed to the burglary of Fred’s,” Johnson said. “He also indicated that his brother was the only officer on duty in East Brewton at the time of the burglary and that he assisted him with the burglary.”
East Brewton Police Chief Kenneth Brazile said that his department turned over the investigation into the Fred’s robbery to the sheriff’s department when Lt. Kirk was named as a suspect. Kirk was also suspended from and then resigned his position amid the investigation, Brazile said.
“As soon as it was discovered that there was possible involvement (from an officer), East Brewton stepped out of the investigation,” Brazile said.
A Facebook page to “Support Matt Kirk” had attracted 88 members as of Friday afternoon. Posts from friends and family said they did not believe the officer was guilty.
“Before the time of facebook, we would gather outside the courthouse holding picket signs and chanting ‘Free Matt,’” the page descrption reads. “Thankfully today showing our support is a lot easier and more efficient.
In April, another man, Bobby Haynes of U.S. 31 in Brewton, was arrested and charged in the burglary, but a spring grand jury declined to indict him on the charges.
Johnson said sheriff’s deputies used a confidential informant to purchase narcotics from Jason Kirk in Brewton on April 8. While purchasing the narcotics, Jason Kirk told the informant that he had several hundred Xanax, but he didn’t have them on him and that he wanted to setup a meeting for a later date.
“Myself and Lt. Forbes knew that on March 23 Fred’s pharmacy in East Brewton had been burglarized and we felt that the large quantity of pills came from that burglary,” Johnson said.
Jason Kirk told the informant that the pills were in an Extended Stay Hotel in Florida, Johnson said.
“Lt. Forbes and I contacted the Escambia County, Fla. Narcotics Division and they used our informant to purchase 100 Xanax from Jason Kirk,” Johnson said.
A search warrant conducted at Jason Kirk’s hotel room resulted in the discovery of a Sentry safe-style lock box containing numerous plastic bags. The bags in the box were reported to contain large quantities of prescription narcotics. Included in the description of drugs found in the box were Xanax, Oxycodone, Methadone, Morphine Sulfate and Hydrocodone, according to previous reports.
The reports also stated that one of the bags found containing Hydrocodone weighed in excess of 200 grams. Additional information such as notebooks were also located and discovered to contain sales and inventory figures for the illicit narcotics. Jason Kirk was in possession of the key to the lockbox at the time of the search. The reporting officer stated in the report that Jason Kirk made post-Miranda statements admitting ownership of the narcotics.
Jason Kirk, whose last known address was 42 Pennie Lane in Brewton, is currently incarcerated in the Escambia County, Fla. Detention Center in Pensacola, Fla. facing multiple narcotics charges including trafficking drugs. During questioning by Lt. Johnson and Lt. Forbes, he tipped them off to his brother, who resigned from the East Brewton Police Department in April when he found out he was being investigated.
Once released from Florida, Jason Kirk will be extradited to face charges in Escambia County, Ala., according to Johnson.
“When he is released, he will be facing charges in Escambia County, Ala. for burglary, theft, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful distribution of a controlled substance,” Johnson said.
Matthew Kirk is currently being held at the Escambia County jail on $100,000 bond.