Kansas City, Kansas Police Officers Charged with Thefts While Serving Search Warrants
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 18, 2011|
KANSAS CITY, KS—Three officers with the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department have been indicted on charges of stealing from homes where they were serving search warrants, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
An indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas alleges the three officers, who were members of a special weapons and tactics unit, conspired to steal cash and personal property from homes where they served search warrants. In addition, they are charged with stealing government property during a sting operation in which the officers did not know that the FBI had them under surveillance.
The officers are charged under federal civil rights statutes that make it a crime for police officers acting under color of law to conspire to deny anyone’s constitutional rights and a crime for a police officer acting under color of law to deny anyone’s constitutional rights.
“Police officers are given tremendous power to fight crime and to keep us safe,” Grissom said. “It is absolutely vital that we assure they do not abuse that authority. The public must be able to have confidence that our officers treat everyone fairly, equally, and with respect.”
“The Constitution guarantees everyone the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and not to be deprived of property without due process of law by one acting under color of law,” Grissom said. “No police officer has the authority to violate those rights.”
The indictment names the following officers:
Jeffrey M. Bell, 33, Kansas City, Kansas, who is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of deprivation of civil rights, and one count of theft of government property.
Darryl M. Forrest, 31, Kansas City, Kansas, who is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of deprivation of civil rights, and one count of theft of government property.
Dustin Sillings, 33, Kansas City, Kansas, who is charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of theft of government property.
The indictment alleges that Bell, Forrest, and Sillings conspired to deprive others of their civil rights from January 2010 to Jan. 4, 2011, while they were members of the police department’s Selective Crime Occurrence Reduction Enforcement Unit (SCORE) whose duties included serving search warrants in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The alleged thefts occurred while the officers were on duty, wearing their SCORE unit uniforms, displaying official badges, and carrying their weapons.
On July 7, 2010, during the execution of a search warrant at a house on Haskell Street in Kansas City, Kansas, Bell is alleged to have stolen a PlayStation Portable game console. During the same incident, Forrest is alleged to have stolen a FLIP camcorder. Those thefts, it is alleged, violated the owner of the property’s constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and not to be deprived of property without due process by anyone acting under color of law.
The indictment also alleges that between January 2010 and Jan. 4, 2011, during the execution of three separate search warrants at residences in Wyandotte County, Bell stole at least three PlayStation video games belonging to unknown persons. During the same period, Sillings is alleged to have stolen at least six PlayStation video games belonging to unknown persons.
On Jan. 4,2011, the FBI and the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department arranged for the officers to execute an apparent search warrant at 730 Everett in Kansas City, Kansas. During that incident, the indictment alleges:
Bell stole one red Nintendo DS game player, one “Golden Sun” Nintendo DS game and a computer docking cord, all belonging to the FBI.
Forrest stole a “Transformers Deceptions” Nintendo DS game, a Nintendo DS “Golden Sun” game case, and an Apple iPod Touch with headphones, and $300 cash, all belonging to the FBI.
Sillings stole $340 cash belonging to the FBI.
Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
Conspiracy: A maximum penalty off 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Deprivation of rights: A maximum penalty of one year and a fine up to $100,000.
Theft of government property: A maximum penalty of one year and a fine up to $100,000.
The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department and the FBI investigated with assistant from the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office. U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tris Hunt are prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.