NIU search warrant part of criminal investigation, FBI says

FBI agents deliver a search warrant at the Northern Illinois campus.

March 6, 2013 2:52:16 PM PST
FBI agents executed a search warrant at Northern Illinois University Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

On Wednesday, federal investigators removed several boxes from NIU's police department. Officials won't say what they are looking for on the DeKalb campus. They would say the NIU warrant is part of ongoing investigation involving Illinois State Police, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"They are executing a search warrant on an ongoing investigation. The university is cooperating fully in this matter," Brad Hoey, NIU spokesperson, said.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Donald Grady was dismissed from his post as NIU police chief for allegedly mishandling a rape investigation. While this current search is not believed to be related to Grady's dismissal, the former police chief's attorney, Mike Fox, said Grady had asked the FBI to assist him in an investigation, which became known as the coffee fund investigation, in October before he was placed on administrative leave.

"We don't know that his request to the FBI is related to this search," Fox said. "All we know is that it wasn't long after the chief made the request, he was put on administrative suspension."

Eight people were indicted in the coffee fund investigation in which university employees were accused of recycling NIU-owned scrap metal for their personal benefit. That case is still pending.

"From Chief Grady's standpoint, he welcomes an examination of every record in his department. We are currently contesting the propriety of his termination. It is our expectation that any examination of records will only serve the chief well," Mike Fox, attorney for former police chief, said.

The FBI will not comment on whether Wednesday's search is related to Chief Grady or the coffee fund investigation, saying only that they will release more if and when arrests are made. NIU wouldn't comment either, but they were quick to point out what the investigation is not about.

"The activity is not in response to a public safety concern. I want to emphasize that. It's not in response to a public safety concern," Hoey said.