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New Westmoreland Co. Sheriff Claims His Office Was Trashed On First Day Of Work

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - The new Westmoreland County sheriff claims he came into work on his first day to find his office absolutely trashed.

Sheriff James Albert says when he arrived to work for his first day, he found a mess -- arrest warrants blocking the door, trash thrown about and dirty uniforms piled up under a DVD of the movie "Paul Blart: Mall Cop."

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(Photo Credit: Sheriff James Albert)
westmoreland county sheriffs office 3
(Photo Credit: Sheriff James Albert)

"It's a total mess. A disgrace," Albert says. Photos show overflowing shelves, open drawers and boxes piled high.

While the mess can be cleaned up, the boxes of records need to be checked out to make sure the paperwork is in order.

He says he doesn't know why anyone would want to do this.

"I'm not going to accuse anyone, but the only ones with access here were the sheriff and the former chief," says Albert.

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(Photo Credit: Sheriff James Albert)
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(Photo Credit: Sheriff James Albert)

The previous sheriff, Jonathan Held, denies trashing the office and suggested Albert faked the situation.

Albert, a retired district judge and Democrat, defeated Held, a Republican, in a contentious race for sheriff during last year's November elections.

"I did not trash the office," Held said. "The new sheriff called the media on this. It's obviously a publicity stunt."

Held says he's not so sure this wasn't a set-up to make him look bad: "He's got to say, 'hey, I'm the sheriff now' and get his name out there or what but it's purely drama."

As for the new sheriff, Albert says he wants to hit the ground running -- not get into a dog fight over an election he won.

"We're going to start today and cleaning up the mess. I want to look forward and stay positive."

The win came as Held is waiting for a retrial on public corruption charges.

It's important to note that Albert did not contact KDKA to take video about the mess, rather KDKA's Ross Guidotti learned about it through other sources.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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