A former Tahlequah police officer was charged Wednesday morning with taking nearly $1,700 from three men after stopping them for alleged traffic violations.
James Troy Johnson, 45, was charged with a count of grand larceny and two counts of petit larceny. Court records show TPD Detective Capt. Dale Glory, the investigating officer on the case, served an arrest warrant on Johnson.
The grand larceny count alleges Johnson took $1,000 on May 22 from Jose Raul Robledo Sanchez. The petit larceny counts allege he took $340 on July 20 from ever Narciso Chacon Hernandez, and took $320 from Jose Guadalupe Galvain on April 30.
Johnson’s resignation from TPD was accepted by city councilors earlier this month. It was effective July 25.
Police Chief Clay Mahaney said the charges were filed after TPD filed a report with the DA’s office. He said the report was based from an internal investigation conducted by Glory and Assistant Police Chief Steve Garner after Mahaney received a misconduct complaint.
An investigator’s statement filed with the charges states Garner told Glory on July 21 that two Hispanic men came to the police department to file complaints that an officer took money from their wallets during searches of their vehicles.
Galvain told Glory he was stopped on East Downing and the officer approached him and asked for his green card and driver’s license.
Galvain said he had neither, but had a work ID fromTri B Nursery. Galvain said he was asked by the officer whether he’d been drinking, and he said he had not.
He said he was told by the officer to put his wallet on the seat and step back so he could check the vehicle for liquor.
Galvain said he was told by the officer to stand at the back of his vehicle and not move, and he complied. Galvain was then told he was going to be let go and told not to tell anyone the officer had stopped him. He later noticed $1,000 missing from his wallet. He later told his wife about the incident, but was scared to say anything because he had no green card.
The same set of circumstances allegedly occurred when Sanchez was stopped, except he asked about his missing money and the officer said he didn’t know what Sanchez was talking about and that Sanchez needed to get in his car and leave.
Sanchez identified Johnson as the officer stopping him and taking his money.
The same set of circumstances also allegedly occurred during the Hernandez stop.
Johnson allegedly told Glory he may have stopped four vehicles and took money, but he wasn’t sure of the exact number of vehicles.
He also allegedly said he never notified the dispatcher he was on a traffic stop. All of the people he stopped were alone in their vehicles and were not written tickets.
Glory’s statement says Johnson told him he has two boys who are everything to him, and he used the money to pay for their golf tournaments, travel and other things for them. He also told Glory he was sorry for what he did, but he knew that didn’t make it right.
Mahaney said Johnson’s resignation occurred during the course of the investigation.
“Our department is held to the highest level of integrity by our community,” Mahaney said in a statement released by the department.
“We reaffirm our commitment to all of our citizens to provide a safe and secure future for our community.”
The grand larceny count carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison or a year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Each petit larceny count carries a possible six-month jail sentence and/or a fine of $10 to $500.
Johnson will appear before a judge on the charges at a later date.
First Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp is prosecuting the case.
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