BRADDOCK (KDKA) — Jim Scuffle maintains his innocence, but investigators say this once-stellar, straight arrow police officer led a double life, living on both sides of the law.
“If half of what he’s accused of is true, it’s just not the Jimmy Scuffle that we knew,” said Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.
Scuffle already stands accused of a string of thefts that came to end last summer. After he was questioned in connection with a burglary at a Westmoreland County campground, police arrested Scuffle accusing him of giving his ex-girlfriend an envelope of confiscated crack cocaine to buy her silence.
And now Scuffle faces a whole new round of charges, including giving that same girlfriend a shotgun he had confiscated so she could sell it on the street.
He’s also accused of stealing money and credit cards off people he had arrested, then using those credit cards for his own use.
Investigators were shocked and amazed after executing a search warrant at Scuffle’s house in Plum.
According to charges filed Wednesday, investigators recovered $40,000 worth of stolen bunker gear from volunteer fire departments and missing medical equipment from local paramedic companies — organizations he had worked for and with for years.
The accusations confound people like Art Tragesser, Scuffle’s former football coach at Penn Trafford High School, who only remembers the linebacker, student and volunteer firefighter who aspired only to become a professional firefighter or police officer.
“You think he has a good future in front of him, you know, he has a good direction,” he said.
But after building a great reputation in Braddock, Scuffle was hurt in the line of duty and returned in 2009 after two years on worker’s comp.
Sources say he had begun dating that girlfriend, who had a series of arrests, and may have started down the same path. Others say he was frustrated with his Braddock police officer salary of just over $10 an hour.
Regardless of the reasons, Fetterman can’t reconcile the criminal activity with the crime fighter he knew.
“It’s just really shocking and sad because Jimmy was a good guy and he was a good police officer. He’s just someone who may have lost his way.”