The attorney for a Pittsburgh homicide detective charged with theft described the allegations as “out of character” and said Thursday he was reluctant to believe them.
Detective Michael Reddy, 40, was charged via summons Wednesday with two misdemeanor counts of theft after one of his supervisors said he took an envelope of cash that was on the counter at a 7-Eleven store near the bureau’s North Side headquarters.
According to a criminal complaint, the detective told his supervisors when they summoned him, “I didn’t know what to do with it. I was going to take it to Zone 1 or something,” referring to the bureau’s North Side neighborhood station.
That happened about three-and-a-half hours after the money was taken, police said.
Detective Reddy declined to comment.
His attorney, James Wymard, said Thursday, “Unless I see some evidence to the contrary, I’ve got to believe him. Nobody can believe this, and I can’t believe it.”
Mr. Wymard described his client as a dedicated officer with more than 10 years on the force.
He said the allegations are “so out of character for Mike Reddy.”
Pittsburgh police were called about 5 p.m. Tuesday to the 7-Eleven on Western Avenue for a report of a theft.
A customer there, Robert Simpson, told police he had cashed a check that day for $220 and accidentally left the envelope on the store counter after he bought something. When he realized that he had misplaced the cash, he went back inside the store and asked the manager if she had found it.
The manager, identified in the complaint as Stacy Warman, told police she reviewed the store’s surveillance video and saw that another man, whom she knew as a Pittsburgh detective, took the envelope and left the store.
Lt. Victor Joseph, who works in the Major Crimes branch that includes homicide, wrote in the complaint that the video showed Detective Reddy “first viewing the contents of this same evidence then placing it into his pocket and then exiting the store.”
Detective Reddy spent a portion of that night interviewing witnesses for a case outside the city, according to his attorney.
When his supervisors summoned him to headquarters, he told them he was not sure what to do with the money and considered taking it to the North Side police station, according to the complaint.
Pittsburgh police consulted with the Allegheny County district attorney’s office before filing charges.
“We advised them to proceed with the filing because we believe that a crime has been committed,” said Mike Manko, spokesman for the DA’s office.
Pittsburgh public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said Detective Reddy has been placed on “modified duty” and is not currently working on homicide investigations.
She said she did not have further detail about exactly where he was placed in the bureau.
“I can say, as far as the public safety department is concerned, this is not indicative of the performance of our police officers,” Ms. Toler said.
“While we are disappointed, Officer Reddy is just like any other individual who has to go through the process of law to determine if he is guilty of the accusations.”
Liz Navratil: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1738. First Published July 17, 2014 12:00 AM