Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– A north suburban police officer was arrested today and charged with stealing money from a man who had been discovered dead in his room at a YMCA facility in Niles, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced.
Niles Police Officer William Christie, 48, was charged with theft and official misconduct following a joint investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Niles Police Department. Christie surrendered to authorities this morning and appeared in court at the Cook County Circuit Courthouse in Skokie where his bond was set at $50,000.
According to prosecutors, Christie committed the theft in November of 2009 after responding to a call at a YMCA facility in Niles that a resident at the facility had died in his room. Before leaving the scene, Christie sealed the room and told staff at the facility that no one was permitted to access the room. Over the next several days, Christie attempted to access the room several times, raising the suspicions of the staff and prompting them to contact the Niles Police Department.
Investigators conducted an inventory and determined that there was in excess of $2,000 in cash and coins in the room. Investigators also placed hidden surveillance equipment in the room and soon after recorded Christie entering and stealing the deceased victim’s cash money and loading it into a cardboard box. Financial records obtained from the officer’s credit union showed that on the day after he committed the theft he visited the credit union and deposited a large volume of coins into his account totaling just over $500. Additional video surveillance at the credit union showed the defendant carrying a cardboard box similar to the one he was observed with in the victim’s room. According to investigators, Christie stole approximately $1,700 in total.
Christie contacted the sister and only living relative of the deceased victim shortly after the theft, according to prosecutors, identifying himself as a Niles Police officer and offered to clean out the room of the deceased. Christie then forwarded $274 to the sister, who lived out of state, along with a note indicating that to be the total amount of money recovered from the victim’s room.
Alvarez thanked Niles Police Chief Dean Strzelecki and the entire department for their cooperation throughout the investigation.
“Police officers must be committed to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and it really is a sad day for all of us in law enforcement when an officer stoops to this level of conduct,” said Alvarez.
“All allegations of misconduct brought to the attention of the Niles Police Department and the Village of Niles are taken seriously and are investigated thoroughly,” Strzelecki added.
Christie’s next court date is February 26 in Skokie.