Sentencing for East Cleveland police officer guilty of robbery, theft in office

Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 7:33 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2023 at 1:30 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An East Cleveland police officer who stole money, drugs and guns after several traffic stops was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Monday to two and a half years in prison.

East Cleveland police officer arrested in connection with theft.
East Cleveland police officer arrested in connection with theft.((Source: Cuyahoga County Sheriff))

Alfonzo Cole, 35, was also given a $40,000 fine and ordered to pay back the victims.

Cole pleaded guilty in August to four counts of robbery and one count of theft in office. He also pleaded guilty to one count of having weapons under disability and carrying a concealed weapon in an unrelated case.

“He in fact is a traitor to the system,” Judge Tim McGinty said. “He’s far worse than your normal burglar or robber or criminal.”

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said Cole stole a total of $14,781 and two guns from a total of six victims.

The first traffic stop happened on Sept. 22, 2020.

Cole pulled over a 43-year-old man near Euclid and Marloes Avenues.

He then stole $850 and $400 worth of marijuana from the car, said O’Malley. He also forged a sergeant’s signature on the traffic citation to the victim.

On June 22, 2021, Cole pulled over a 26-year-old man and stole $4,000, suspected marijuana and a gun, said O’Malley.

Also on June 22, 2021, Cole stopped an 18-year-old, searched the vehicle and removed the victim’s mother’s gun and bullets, said O’Malley.

On July 8, 2021, Cole and East Cleveland Police Officer Willie Sims pulled over a 21-year-old man at a gas station near Euclid Avenue and Superior Road.

They removed $5,000 from his vehicle. The victim reported the theft to East Cleveland police, who contacted the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s office, said O’Malley.

On July 13, 2021, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Cole’s home and recovered the guns stolen in the July 22, 2021 traffic stops, along with suspected marijuana edibles.

Sims will be sentenced on Sept. 14.