Patrolman accused of theft in sting

Police say Dallas officer took $700 in traffic stop

December 16, 2003|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

DALLAS - A Dallas patrol officer has been arrested after being accused of taking $700 from an undercover officer's wallet during a traffic stop, police officials said.

The arrest of Winston Tyler Russell, 35, a probationary officer in the Northwest Patrol Division, was the result of an undercover public integrity investigation, said Senior Cpl. Chris Gilliam, a police spokesman.

Gilliam said police officials had received two earlier complaints about Russell, who was placed on administrative leave pending the outcomes of two investigations - one conducted by detectives who handle theft cases and the other by internal affairs officers.

According to police reports, Russell stopped the undercover officer shortly after midnight Sunday in the 9900 block of Webb Chapel Road in Dallas.

Russell reportedly asked to see the driver's license of the officer, who responded that he didn't have one and handed over his wallet instead.

The reports stated that Russell went back to his patrol car for about four minutes, then returned and stuffed the wallet into the shirt pocket of the undercover officer.

Russell then told the undercover officer to leave, the reports stated, but after driving a short distance, the officer stopped his car, checked his wallet and discovered seven $100 bills missing.

The money had been photocopied for evidence, according to reports.

Gilliam said that Russell was arrested about 12:30 a.m. at a police substation where he was assigned.

Russell, who joined the police force in 2002, was booked into the Lew Sterrett Justice Center where he was charged with theft.

He posted $1,500 bond and was released, according to jail records.

Gilliam said, however, that there are several different charges that could result from the investigations.

Included is theft by a public servant, a state jail felony punishable by as much as two years in jail and a possible $2,000 fine.

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