4
| Crime |

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

^
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.

Aaron Smith, a patrol officer with the Tempe Police Department for more than seven years, was arrested this weekend for allegedly stealing some of the department's stuff.

Smith, who told his (now former) fellow officers that he was suffering from "extreme financial hardship," is accused of taking some cash, bikes, and a GPS unit that didn't even work, according to Tempe police.

According to Tempe PD, officers noticed earlier this month that stuff around the department was starting to go missing.

Police say the stuff just happened to go missing during Smith's shift, and he had access to the general areas where the thefts and burglaries occurred.

That includes the lock box that was broken into on July 20, which had around $750 in it, police say.

On Thursday, police decided to test out the theory -- an undercover detective gave Smith a purse with $142 in it, telling him it was found property.

By Saturday morning, neither the purse nor the money was 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.

One of the bills that was planted in the purse was found in Smith's locker, police say.

According to Tempe police, Smith admitted to stealing the bikes, the case containing the GPS unit, and the purse, and also admitted to breaking into the lock box.

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

Police say Smith's total haul was just over $1,000.

Smith was a patrol officer for 7 1/2 years -- until Saturday morning, when he resigned.

Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff says there's no evidence any other employee was involved in the crimes, but "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 faces charges of felony theft, burglary, and tampering with evidence, as well as misdemeanor theft.


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.