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'To protect ... not exploit.' Ex-cop gets 3 years for traffic-stop thefts.

A former Alabama police officer confessed that he and a partner stole money from motorists they pulled over under the guise of traffic stops. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

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A former police officer in Fort Deposit, Ala., was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison after admitting that he and a partner stole money from motorists they pulled over during traffic stops on an interstate highway in 2009.

Carlos Tyson Bennett was also ordered to pay $500 in restitution to his victims and serve two years of supervised release after his prison term.

Mr. Bennett’s partner, Jessie Alan Fuller, received the same 37-month prison sentence last year after he pleaded guilty to involvement in the thefts.

 

According to court documents, both men conspired to stop motorists under the guise of a traffic violation. While searching the motorists, the officers took a portion of their money, while returning most of it.

All four thefts took place in June 2009. Three involved Hispanic drivers, and the fourth was Asian, according to court documents.

After one victim complained to the police, the officers placed six $20 bills in a plastic evidence bag and agreed to tell investigating officers that the money had been found blowing on the highway after a truck drove past during the traffic stop.

The story was false.

“Police officers are here to protect the public, not exploit the public,” US Attorney George Beck said in a statement.

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