AKRON, OH (WOIO) - Richfield Police officer Michael Simmons was charged with felony theft for stealing over $25,000 from the "Shop with a Cop" program in the Akron Municipal Court this afternoon.
Investigations on Simmons began in January, when the chief of police noticed unauthorized transactions from the bank account of "Shop with a Cop."
The "Shop with a Cop" program helps build financially disadvantaged families by taking children on a shopping trip with law enforcement each Christmas.
"The 'Shop with a Cop' program helps kids bond with and trust police, but this defendant violated that trust on so many different levels," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Attorney General and special agents of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) allege that from 2010 to 2016, Simmons spent money on personal expenses such as sporting event tickets, electronics, clothing, tools and gift cards.
"Our investigation found that, for years, this officer not only deceived those who generously donated to this charity, but he also stole from the children whom this program was created to help. Many more kids could have benefited from this charity had this defendant not spent thousands of dollars in donations on himself," said DeWine.
Officer Simmons is on paid administration leave and is still out on bond.
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