Police officer indicted on felony theft charge

Accused of stealing $1,400 from driver during traffic stop in East Baltimore

July 29, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

An officer in the city Police Department's organized crime division has been charged with stealing $1,400 from a man he had stopped for running a red light on a scooter, prosecutors said.

Officer Brent Allen Gates, 30, surrendered yesterday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of felony theft and misconduct in office. Gates, who was hired in 1999, has a role in about 40 pending criminal cases that could now face additional scrutiny, according to court records.

Neither Gates nor his attorney could be reached for comment yesterday. If convicted of theft, Gates could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. If convicted of misconduct, he would face whatever penalty a judge deemed fair.

The charges against Gates stem from a June 2 traffic stop in the 2300 block of Ashland Ave. in East Baltimore. According to Assistant State's Attorney A. Thomas Krehely Jr., the man on the scooter pulled out his identification and with it came at least some of the $6,300 he had in his pocket. The city state's attorney's office has confirmed that the man received money in a settlement for a traffic accident, Krehely said.

Krehely said Gates requested the money and took it to his car. Another police officer told prosecutors that it appeared Gates counted the money, according to Krehely.

Krehely said Gates returned a wad of money to the man, issued him three traffic tickets and, when the man started to count the cash, told him to drive away. The man rode the scooter a short distance, counted the cash and discovered he was missing $1,400, Krehely said.

The scooter's driver, Tony Julius Robinson, called police to report his money missing, Krehely said. The other officer followed Gates to a liquor store, where Gates entered the bathroom, Krehely said.

The prosecutor said the second officer waited until Gates left the bathroom, entered and found about $500 hidden behind a mirror.

Krehely said the second officer left the money in the bathroom and called his superiors. A short time later, officers with search warrants recovered the $500 in the bathroom and $400 from Gates, Krehely said. No other money was found, he said.

Gates is suspended with pay pending a hearing, a police spokeswoman said. He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 18.

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