A former Upper Darby Township detective, a 17-year veteran, has been charged with stealing narcotics from the evidence room to support his drug habit, officials announced Friday.

Charges against Brad Ross, 41, of Aldan, included theft, receiving stolen property, and tampering with evidence. He was released after posting $50,000 bail. A hearing was set for Wednesday.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said at a news conference that because of Ross' actions, his office had to throw out three cases, adding that Ross' thefts dated to 2012.

Neither Ross, who surrendered Friday morning and appeared in District Court in Newtown Township, nor his attorney, Brian McMonagle, would comment.

Michael Chitwood, the Upper Darby police superintendent, declined to comment on the specifics of the case but said the district attorney's investigation was "complete, in-depth, and professional."

According to court documents, on Jan. 29 another Upper Darby investigator, Kevin Dinan, an evidence custodian for the department, discovered that evidence bags were out of place and pills were missing.

He contacted Ross, who said that he had the rest of the pills stored in his desk, and that an envelope was incorrectly photographed and needed to be rephotographed.

Two days later, Ross, who had received numerous department commendations during his 15-year career, checked himself into an inpatient drug rehabilitation center. He resigned from the department in March.

Further investigation revealed that evidence was missing or tampered with in more than 200 cases.

Among items missing were more than $14,000, along with 3,767 pills and suboxone strips, eight cellphones, gift cards, and jewelry.

Ross also attempted to cover up the thefts by illegally purchasing drugs from individuals, according to court records.

His wife, Ella, told investigators that he had been involved in two incidents in which he was injured at work. Both times, he was prescribed Percocet.

She acknowledged that she had purchased illegal drugs for him, officials said.

Investigators found that in a 16-month period, Ross had been prescribed 1,400 oxycodone tablets.

610-313-8111 @MariSchaefer