SCRANTON - A police officer here was accused yesterday of stealing thousands of dollars in cash from an evidence room.

State troopers yesterday arrested Scranton Police Detective Leonard Ash Jr. and charged him with theft. State police say Ash took about $8,000 and replaced it with blank sheets of paper.

The Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office discovered that the money was missing about four months ago as it prepared for a forfeiture of the cash. Ash has been suspended without pay. He has been with the department for about 20 years.

Ash did not immediately return a phone message left at his home last night. A message left for a Scranton police spokesman also was not immediately returned. - AP