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Updated Jul 28, 2012 - 6:20 pm

Tempe Officer arrested for stealing from department

Tempe Police Officer Aaron Smith was arrested Saturday morning by Tempe Police Detectives on multiple charges of theft, burglary and tampering with physical evidence.

Smith, who had been with the department for over seven years, had reportedly stolen cash, bicycles, and an equipment case containing a GPS from two separate police locations.

Police suspected Smith of the crimes, and therefore set up an undercover detective to turn over a purse with $142 to him while on duty. At conclusion of Smith's shift the purse had never been processed.

Smith was taken into custody Saturday morning and search warrants obtained the bicycles, as well as the purse.

Smith admitted to stealing the bicycles, stealing cash, and stealing the equipment case. He told police he stole the property due to troubling financial situation, and had given the bikes to his children.

It's estimated the total amount taken during these incidents was $1,006.

"Trust is paramount - in every aspect of law enforcement employee behavior and actions," Chief of Police Tom Ryff stated. "This instance of criminal conduct clearly does not reflect the professional standards and practices expected of- and demonstrated by- Tempe Police employees. There is no evidence that any other Tempe Police Employees were involved in these crimes; unfortunately, the regrettable actions of a single employee can have the power to overshadow the honorable and daily good actions that often go unnoticed."

Smith has now resigned from the Tempe Police Department.


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