Fairview Twp. police officer accused of stealing drug money, falsifying reports
HARRISBURG, Pa.–A police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department has been charged in federal court for allegedly stealing drug money seized by the police department and then falsifying reports regarding the seized cash, according to federal prosecutors.
Tyson Baker, a 17 year veteran police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department, was charged Wednesday related to the theft of drug proceeds and efforts to conceal those thefts.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, the indictment alleges that Baker, 41, Etters, stole several thousand dollars of real and suspected drug money in November and December of 2015. Baker then falsified reports in connection with those two thefts to cover up his conduct and obstruct the investigation, federal prosecutors said. Baker was charged with taking property to prevent its seizure, two counts of obstruction of justice, three counts pertaining to the filing false reports, and one count of theft of government property.
The indictment alleges that, in November, Baker orchestrated the theft of $2,000 in drug proceeds seized by the Fairview Township Police Department during the search of a residence that had resulted in the seizure of several pounds of marijuana and approximately $15,000. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recorded conversations between Baker and a cooperating individual (CI) regarding the theft. The indictment also alleges that Baker discussed with the CI stopping suspected drug traffickers driving through the township to steal their drug proceeds during traffic stops.
The indictment also alleges that on December 16, 2015 the FBI, with the full cooperation of the Fairview Township Police Department, arranged for a vehicle operated by an undercover FBI agent to be stopped. It is alleged that Baker had the vehicle towed from the scene. It is also alleged that, without first obtaining a search warrant and in spite of directions by the FBI not to search the vehicle, Baker searched the vehicle and stole $3,000 that was concealed in the vehicle that Baker believed were drug proceeds. The grand jury also found that false reports were prepared and filed in connection with both theft incidents.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Harrisburg Resident Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and the Fairview Township Police Department.
In a statement posted on the police department’s website, Chief Jason Loper wrote:
“It is imperative that the public know that this department will not tolerate corruption within our ranks. We are trusted to enforce the laws, not break them. As much as his actions created a break in the public’s trust, so too was there a break in the trust with his fellow officers. The actions of this one individual do not accurately represent the fine work being performed by the other members of this agency.”