A Maricopa County grand jury has indicted former Phoenix Police Sgt. Arnold Davis for one count of theft, a class 4 felony.
Davis is accused of pocketing $3,340 in cash from a business he responded to while on duty.
Davis was assisting other officers after a burglary at Phoenix Tax Pros near 35th Avenue and Thomas Road.
Surveillance video show Davis rummaging through one of the office's desks looking for a contact phone number for the owner. Davis then stands up, opens a top drawer, reaches in, grabs something and immediately puts it in his pocket.
After the incident in July, Davis was placed on paid administrative leave while he remained under investigation. Davis, who had 18 years on the department, bought back his military time to reach his required 20 years, and put in for retirement. He started collecting his state police pension of more than $4,200 a month. The internal investigation ended when he retired but the criminal investigation continued.
Earlier this month he was charged and he made his first appearance in court on Thursday.
According to state law, an employee shall forfeit all rights and benefits earned under the state retirement system if they are convicted of or pleads no contest to an offense that is a class 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 felony and that was committed in the course of the member's employment as a public official.
Davis has no criminal background. According to defense lawyer Dwane Cates, who is familiar with how these kind of cases are handled, it's highly unlikely Davis will be found guilty of a crime classified high enough to force him to lose his pension. The likely outcome will be a plea bargain.
"In a plea bargain they generally lower the plea. Now, in a class 4 felony, where it's involving the theft of around three to four thousand dollars, it's obviously not the crime of the century," Cates said. "So, what generally happens is it will get plead probably to a class 6 felony. Maybe even what is called a class 6 undesignated felony, which could eventually end up being a misdemeanor."
If the Davis case follows this thought process, Davis will get to keep his pension.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has said in the past, the issue of Davis's pension will not play any part in how his office handle's the case.
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