Commonwealth’s attorney takes on police officer embezzlement case

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Virginia Beach Police Officer Mark W. Rowe, arrested earlier this week and charged with one count of misdemeanor embezzlement. (Photo courtesy VBPD)
Virginia Beach Police Officer Mark W. Rowe, arrested earlier this week and charged with one count of misdemeanor embezzlement. (Photo courtesy VBPD)

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for Virginia Beach will be handling the prosecution of a city police officer arrested this week for embezzlement.

The Virginia Beach Police Department arrested Master Police Officer Mark Wayne Rowe, 49, on Wednesday Sept. 7 and charged him with a single count of misdemeanor embezzlement. Rowe, a 17-year veteran on the force, worked in the property and evidence unit; he has been placed on administrative assignment pending the outcome of administrative investigations and the prosecution, according to a previous release from the department. He had been found with unclaimed property that had been slated for destruction, the police said at the time of his arrest.

Though the commonwealth’s attorney’s office generally handles felony cases, not misdemeanors, they do make exceptions and this is one of them, according to Public Information Officer Macie Pridgen Allen. Typically, the exceptions arise for DUI and domestic violence matters, but the office can also become involved when the underlying matter is complex or may require many witnesses, she added.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it,” she said. “We get several of these a week.”

Rowe’s trial has been set for Oct. 11, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. in General District Courtroom 2.

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Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.