A New Jersey police officer, who had resigned from the force in March of this year, was arrested on charges of theft at the end of last week. The 34 year-old officer turned himself in to the internal affairs department on Thursday. He was charged with one count of theft of more than $500.

The charges allege that he was stealing funds from the local Policemen’s Beneficial Association. He served as treasurer during the timeframe in which the theft is suspected to have occurred.

According to local news reports the police and prosecutors office engaged in a two month investigation of the officer before bringing the charges. The officer began serving on the force in 1999 and at the time of his resignation was earning a base salary just over $100,000 per year.

Often our image of the typical person charged with theft is that of a down at the heels vagrant stealing from a department store, or wayward teenager. While this is certainly sometimes the case, often those finding themselves facing theft charges are individuals that we would have otherwise trusted with our money.

Usually theft from an employer or other organization for which one manages funds starts small and starts to snowball when no one notices that anything is missing. But finally when the books do not balance it is often that employee, or other person who has an opportunity to handle other people’s money, that may come under scrutiny.

After turning himself in, the officer was released on his own recognizance.

Source: Asbury Park Press “Former Brick officer charged with stealing from PBA” Stephanie Loder, May 6, 2011