Follow the money. It’s a commonly used phrase, but it couldn’t be more accurate to describe Lewes Detective Jonathan Moyer’s approach earlier this year to uncover a massive embezzlement scheme by an employee at Beebe Healthcare.
Just after he was promoted to the rank of detective, Moyer poured more than 150 hours into analysis of financial records, bank statements and other documents to expose a calculated effort to steal $150,000 from hospital accounts, far more than originally suspected.
Hope Abram pleaded guilty to the crimes and will serve two years in prison followed by a year of home confinement.
As a result of his hard work and determination, Moyer was awarded the Robert J. Seinsoth Memorial Award, given to the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by Delaware Crime Stoppers.
The case was one of Moyer’s first, after he took over for now-Sgt. James Locklear in the spring. Chief Tom Spell said Moyer was selected as the new detective because of his ability to thoroughly investigate complaints and talk to people from all walks of life.
“As a relatively young officer, he has great common sense,” Spell said. “He gets to the root of the issue and develops good probable cause before making arrests.”
Moyer, 36, is a born and raised Delawarean, growing up in Harrington and graduating from Lake Forest High School in 2000. Although he grew up just across the county line, he said he can’t consider himself a Sussex Countian.
“I’m definitely not a northerner though,” he joked.
Shortly after high school, he joined the Air Force Reserves out of Dover Air Force Base, and he remains a reservist 17 years later.
The early 2000s were a turbulent time for the country; Moyer was activated shortly after joining the reserves and remained active for a few years.
He then worked for his father’s heating and air conditioning company before being activated again for nearly four years.
In 2011, the threat of a government shutdown inspired him to look for full-time employment. He found an ad for an opening with the Lewes Police Department.
“It seemed like a fun gig, so I applied,” he said.
Like all new officers, he went through the academy and then started on patrol. After four years, he earned the detective’s position.
The key to being a successful police officer and detective is communication, he said.
“The biggest thing is learning how to interview people,” he said.
“That comes with experience – being out there and talking to people. It comes naturally to some people. It’s like most things in life, if you’re weak at it, you better work at it.”
Experience is also key to being a detective, he said. Lewes may not be a hot spot for violent crime or even the most mundane of crimes, but knowing how to handle each case is important, he said.
Moyer takes extra classes geared toward crime most likely to occur in Lewes, such as crimes against the elderly. He also takes advantage of investigative classes offered by the state.
Those extra classes definitely came in handy while investigating the Beebe embezzlement case.
Through his efforts, he was able to discover Abram had five aliases, had a warrant out for her arrest in West Virginia and had stolen money from several people over the years. Locally, he also discovered she had another home in Millsboro, where he found six vehicles, including three 2018 models, registered to her name.
But not every day is full of excitement. A lot of Moyer’s time is spent doing support work for the department. He looks for trends in the daily complaints and collects data on traffic. He takes care of evidence handling and collection, and will occasionally go out on patrol if needed.
Any major crimes and felonies will fall on his desk.
“If it’s not something officers can handle within their rotation or their shift or it’s going to require extensive time, I’m going to take it over for them,” he said.
Moyer comes from a civic-minded family. His father Anthony is the mayor of Harrington, a job he’s held for the last five years. Moyer has been married for 12 years and has two children.