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Policemen admit to stealing from suspects

Two Kansas City, Kansas, police officers recently confessed that they stole electronics and cash from homes where they were serving search warrants.

In federal court January 17, 2012, a 32-year-old man and a 34-year-old man both pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate people's civil rights, according to court records. A federal judge can sentence them to up to 10 years in prison for the felonies. A typical sentence is 18 to 33 months.

During the hearing, the 32-year-old officer confessed he stole Nintendo games, an iPod and $300 while serving search warrants. The 34-year-old officer admitted he stole $340, court records show.

Both men were part of an elite tactical unit known as the Selective Crime Occurrence Reduction Enforcement Unit. Both have been suspended without pay since their arrest in January 2011. A third officer, who has also been suspended without pay since January 2011, is also expected to plead guilty to a similar charge.

The first indication that something was wrong came in 2010 when a woman reported items were missing from her home after a search warrant. The Kansas City Police chief then started an internal affairs investigation. The FBI also assisted with the investigation.

All three officers were arrested during an FBI sting on January 4, 2011, court records show. During the January 17 hearing, a federal prosecutor said the 34-year-old man commented during the FBI sting, "It was a pity the house did not contain more swag."

When he announced the arrests, the Kansas City Police chief said he would not tolerate police officers engaging in criminal activity. He said actions of a few officers should not reflect negatively on the more than 300 other officers who work for the department.

While officers are the enforcers of our laws, they are human and are not immune to the temptations that anyone else faces. No doubt they are embarrassed and frightened about what could happen due to their actions. Not only will they be affected because of their errors, but their families will also be affected too.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Two KCK policemen admit they stole while on duty," Joe Lambe and Dawn Bormann, Jan. 17, 2012.

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