Two former East Cleveland police officers have been sentenced to prison for stealing thousands of dollars from motorists during traffic stops.
Willie Sims, 32, and Alfonzo Cole, 35, stole a collective $14,781, two firearms and marijuana edibles from six victims between July 2020 and July 2021, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Fox News reports that both former officers pleaded guilty to four counts of felony robbery and one count of felony theft in office.
Cole was convicted on additional charges of having weapons under disability and carrying concealed weapons for stealing guns from two separate drivers in June and July 2021.
On Monday, Cole was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, court records show. Sims received a two-year prison sentence on Thursday.
The two were finally apprehended after they robbed a 21-year-old motorist of $4,000 on his way to pay for his mother’s funeral services on July 9 of 2021, Cleveland.com reported.
That victim drove straight to the police station where he worked and filed a complaint. Later that day, department supervisors pulled Cole over and recovered $1,200 and weed edibles, according to the local outlet.
Both officers were fined $40,000 and ordered to repay $5,000 to one of their victims. Cole was ordered to pay three victims he robbed on his own $4,580, while Sims must repay $6,931 to his victims.
Sims’ and Coles’ arrests are among many amid a wider investigation into department corruption, WKYC reported.
More than a dozen former and current East Cleveland police officers have been charged – among them former Police Chief Scott Gardner, who has denied charges of fraud, theft, money laundering and tampering with records.