Saturday, July 28, 2012

Did Tempe cop Aaaron Smith steal from you?

If you were pulled over by a Tempe cop you might recognize this cop's mug shot, officer Aaron Smith resigned today after being caught in a sting after police property went missing. He also took cash off an undercover detective who set him up.

From the AZ Repulsive:
A Tempe police officer has resigned after more than seven years with the department after admitting to having stolen police property and cash, according to the Tempe Police Department.

Former patrol officer Aaron Smith was taken into custody Saturday morning near Dobson Road and Southern Avenue after a month-long internal investigation, according to Tempe Police spokesman Lt. Mike Horn. He faces charges of theft, burglary and tampering with physical evidence, Horn said.

Police supervisors had begun receiving reports of missing items -- including two police bicycles, an equipment case, and money -- in early July. On July 20, about $750 reportedly disappeared from a petty-cash lock box. Smith had access to the areas where the property disappeared, and his swing-shift hours matched up with when the items went missing, Horn said.

On July 26, an undercover detective gave a purse with $142 in it to Smith, describing it as "found property." By the end of the workweek, Smith still hadn't impounded or processed the money, Horn said. Tempe detectives found the stolen bikes and purse when they served search warrants at Smith's home, vehicles and work locker Saturday.

Following the arrest, Smith admitted to stealing the property and the roughly $1,000 in cash, saying he was under extreme financial hardship, according to Horn.

He had reportedly given the bicycles to his children as gifts. Police believe Smith acted alone.

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