JERSEY CITY — An internal affairs investigation is underway into the disappearance of cash recovered from crime scenes temporarily being stored inside safes at the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

The theft could be a public relations blow at a time when the prosecutor is being considered for the office of U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.

The safes have limited access by investigative staff in the office, according to Prosecutor Esther Suarez, who said her office's Public Integrity Unitwill be conducting the investigation. It's not clear at this point how many were responsible for the thefts.

The state Attorney General's office was also notified, according to Suarez.

An audit would also be conducted of other cases the office is handling and a review of the procedures for the safe keeping of cash and property.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office would not disclose how much cash was missing or the number of individuals with access to the safe due to the ongoing nature of the investigation being in its early stages.

"This is a sheer betrayal and disgrace of the sacred oaths taken by those who wear a badge and were involved in these appalling acts. What compounds this even more is the fact that members of the Prosecutor’s Office are held to an even higher standard when it comes to integrity and trust," Suarez said in a written statement. "Every angle will be examined and we are confident that we will find who was responsible for this and hold them accountable under the law."

Suarez is considered one of President Joe Biden's top picks to be the next U.S. attorney for New Jersey. The office is currently filled by Rachael A. Honig who was appointed after Craig Carpenito stepped down in January at the end of Trump's term.

Allegations that Star-Ledger editorial page editor Tom Moran inappropriately touched Suarez at an event two years ago surfaced shortly after he wrote a column titled "Why Esther Suarez is an awful pick as next top federal prosecutor."

Her office oversaw the investigation of Al Alvarez, a Murphy campaign official accused of sexually assaulting campaign staffer Katie Brennan. Her office decided not to charge Alvarez with a crime and Suarez had to investigate the integrity of her office's investigation after the public became aware that she knew Alvarez.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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