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Dual investigations ongoing in Schenectady County jail key theft case

Dual investigations ongoing in Schenectady County jail key theft case

No discipline is expected, police chief says
Dual investigations ongoing in Schenectady County jail key theft case
Devin X. Hoyt.
Photographer: Provided

SCHENECTADY — Two departments are now investigating the theft of keys last week by a Schenectady County jail inmate.

Court documents in the case filed against inmate Devin X. Hoyt and available Wednesday formally identify the keys as belonging to the Schenectady Police Department. County officials had previously suggested they were county keys.

The paperwork identified them as "intake/property room area keys." Hoyt, 30, is accused of snatching them while jail corrections officers moved him and other inmates from Schenectady City Court back to the jail on  Nov. 27.

"We have an active internal review and will assess the area where the keys were to determine what is needed to prevent this situation from happening again," Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford said in a statement Wednesday.

The police review is focusing on the key location and policy. No discipline is expected, Clifford said. He described the keys as to property lockers. 

The police department investigation is running simultaneous to the sheriff's investigation into the incident and whether corrections officers moving the inmates should be disciplined. 

That remained ongoing, Sheriff Dominic Dagostino said Wednesday evening. 

Dagostino also confirmed Wednesday that the keys were missing for two hours before the police department realized they were gone and notified the sheriff's office. 

Court documents place the theft at 11:31 a.m. Nov. 27 and describe the keys as "seven keys attached to a red stop sign-shaped key chain." 

Surveillance cameras recorded the theft, Dagostino has said, and allowed investigators to zero in on Hoyt.

Sheriff's officials recovered seven of the keys stashed behind a wall panel of the sheriff's transport van, according to court documents. 

Dagostino has said they believe a handcuff key was also taken and remains missing; however, a thorough search of jail cells and common areas completed over a three-day lockdown at the facility makes him confident the key is not inside the jail.

Hoyt appeared in Schenectady City Court on his new charges Wednesday morning. He pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor petit larceny and stolen property possession charges lodged against him. Prior convictions prevented him from formally entering pleas to three felony counts. Hoyt faces one count each of first-degree possession of dangerous prison contraband and tampering with physical evidence, felonies.

Hoyt's attorney Mark Juda said Wednesday that he had yet to see the video. He expects that to be a crucial piece of evidence.

Hoyt is due back in court Friday, Juda said; however, that appearance may not happen as he is already held on other charges and in a parole case.

Hoyt was originally arrested in October on felony witness intimidation, weapons possession and other charges, records show.

He is accused of offering money to a potential witness and intimidating the witness Oct. 14 to not testify to a grand jury. He then is accused of illegally possessing a .357 Magnum and a .40-caliber handgun three days later at his Rugby Road residence. He also allegedly possessed heroin there, according to court documents.

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