4
| News |

Four Phoenix Police Officers Indicted for Theft -- All From South Mountain Precinct

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Three Phoenix police officers, and one former officer -- all based out of the Phoenix Police Department's highly criticized South Mountain Precinct -- have been indicted for stealing thousands of dollars from various businesses that partnered with the department.

The Attorney General's Office released the indictments to the media this morning -- it seems the officers liked getting paid for performing off-duty security work. Actually doing the work was a different story.

According to the indictment, former Officer George Contreras -- an 18-year veteran of the force -- served as the South Mountain Precinct's off-duty work coordinator. Under Contreras' direction, the Precinct contracted with several businesses -- including Cotton Center Townhomes, Laron Incorporated, Arizona Materials, and Eisenberg Properties -- to have off-duty officers perform security at their properties.

A lot of the work, the indictment claims, never happened even though the businesses had paid for the services.

The AG's Office alleges that between December 2007 through December 2009, Contreras falsified invoices and billed the businesses in advance for the security work -- which was never performed.

As the guy in charge of coordinating the off-duty work program, Contreras assigned the majority of the no-show shifts to himself and the three other officers named in the indictment, Sergeant Benjamin Sywarungsymun, Officer Steven Peck, and Officer Aaron Lentz.

In total, the officers are believed to have swindled more than $16,000 from the businesses that hired them.

Worst hit was Cotton Center Town Homes, which hired the officers to patrol areas with a high crime rates. Three homeowners associations paid the to have a marked patrol car and two officers stationed in their neighborhoods. In many cases, that never happened.

The Phoenix Police Department plans to address the indictment at a press conference this afternoon. Check back to Valley Fever later today for updates.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.