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Archive for Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lawyers: Mo. police took too long to stop their stealing officers

April 4, 2010

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— Two criminal defense lawyers have complained that federal prosecutors left two corrupt St. Louis police officers on the street for too long after one was videotaped stealing money.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Bobby Lee Garrett and Vince Carr weren’t taken off the streets until 14 months after the FBI sting that videotaped the theft.

During that time, federal prosecutors have said, Garrett and Carr stole more money, dealt drugs, arrested an innocent man and lied on court documents and lab forms. They eventually lost their jobs, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other charges, and were sent to federal prison.

State and federal prosecutors have been reviewing their files for any cases they think need reopening.

Chet Pleban, Garrett’s own attorney, told the Post-Dispatch that the Aug. 7, 2007, video of Carr taking money that had been planted in an informer’s car should have been conclusive for investigators to act immediately.

The FBI and a police internal affairs detective had set up a brown Cadillac with $5,500 in government cash, two hidden cameras and a confidential informer pretending to carry drug money or other contraband.

The Post-Dispatch reports that the video shows Garrett finding cash in a bag in the car’s center console. The video later shows Carr sneaking a hand into the console, taking out the bag and slipping out a handful of bills.

Garrett eventually was indicted on a federal charge alleging theft of $3,500 from the bugged Cadillac, in what “was purportedly the proceeds of an illegal drug sale.” He did not plead guilty to that charge. Carr was never charged in that theft.

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