Former Hillsborough detective arrested, accused of concealing dozens of unfinished cases before retirement

A former Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detective is facing charges of misconduct and tampering with evidence after investigators said he tried to conceal dozens of his unfinished cases prior to retirement.

The sheriff's office said 32-year-old Dalton Lewis had worked as a detective in their Criminal Investigations Division from 2016 to 2021.

Investigators discovered that before Lewis resigned on Aug. 27, 2021, he had tried to conceal his remaining unfinished cases.

According to detectives, Lewis attempted to reassign cases to retired employees or removed himself as lead investigator from the cases.

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Investigators said an internal search of Lewis' user activity confirmed his actions. A total of 36 cases were reassigned to others or left unassigned, according to detectives.

Immediately after identifying the issue, supervisors reassigned each of Lewis' cases to other detectives. 

"No additional revictimization took place during the time that the cases were left unassigned," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "At this time, the motive for Lewis' actions remains unclear."

Pasco Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Lewis without incident at his home on Monday.

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He faces one count of tampering with physical evidence and 72 counts of unlawfully withholding or detaining records from a successor by a public officer or employee.

Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister condemned Lewis' actions, calling them "shameful" and "not a representation of the nearly 4,000 dedicated employees" of the agency.

"This once trusted public servant spent his final hours trying to hide his unfinished business. Thankfully, the only harm he caused was to himself, and now, he will face the consequences for attempting to conceal those incomplete cases from the same people he once considered his peers," Chronister said. "Let this be an example that nobody, including the men and women of law enforcement, is above the law."