Former St. Louis officer accused of stealing suspect’s phone from evidence
ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged a former city police officer with stealing a woman’s cellphone after she was booked at an area patrol station.
According to court documents, the theft is said to have occurred January 21 at the South Patrol Police Station in the 3500 block of Sublette Avenue.
The victim had previously been taken into custody for an outstanding traffic warrant. When she was released from custody, her property was returned to her – except for the cellphone.
Surveillance video of the booking counter at the police station showed the woman in possession of her phone just before being escorted from the area. Her phone was left unattended on the booking counter.
A short time later, Officer Thomas Harger could be seen walking up to the booking counter and observing the unattended phone. Harger completed the booking process for a different person and then took the woman’s phone, hid it under some paperwork, and left the area.
Prosecutors said additional surveillance video from different areas inside the police station shows Harger with the woman’s phone.
After the theft, the woman’s phone was turned off, keeping it from being located and recovered.
Harger was charged with one count of stealing – value less than $150, which is a misdemeanor.
A spokesperson with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said Harger was no longer employed as an officer as of last week. It’s unclear if Harger was fired or left of his own volition.