Aaron Smith, Ex-Tempe Cop, Gets 90 Days in Jail for Being a Petty Thief

Aaron Smith, the former Tempe patrol officer who decided to steal from the most cop-filled building in the City of Tempe -- the police department -- was sentenced today to 90 days in jail.

Smith lost his job, and now has a criminal record and has to serve jail time because he just needed some cash, bikes, and a GPS unit that didn't even work, telling his fellow officers that he was suffering from "extreme financial hardship."

See also:
Tempe Cop Aaron Smith Arrested, Accused of Stealing From Police Department

Officers around the Tempe Police Department started noticing in July 2012 that stuff around the department started to go missing, and that stuff just happened to go missing during Smith's shift, in the general areas where Smith had access.

The big-ticket item was a lock box that was broken into, which had around $750 in it, police said.

Police decided to test out the theory that Smith was their guy, as an undercover detective gave Smith a purse with $142 in it, telling him it was found property.

About three days later, neither the purse nor the money had been impounded.

Smith was arrested that morning, as police served search warrants on his house, cars, and work locker. Two Tempe Police Department bicycles were found at Smith's house, as was the purse, which didn't have any of the money left in it.

Smith admitted to the thefts, and claimed that he got the bicycles for his children, while he tossed the GPS unit in the garbage, apparently after he found out that it wouldn't work.

Police valued Smith's total haul was just over $1,000, which as the reward certainly didn't seem to outweigh the risk for a 7 1/2-year veteran.Smith initially faced charges of felony theft, burglary, and tampering with evidence, as well as misdemeanor theft, but as part of a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to a single theft charge.

In addition to the 90 days in jail, Smith was also sentenced to three years of probation.

Send feedback and tips to the author.
Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley