- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The district attorney wants an Allegheny County judge, not a city magistrate, to rehear a theft charge against a Pittsburgh detective who found an envelope with $220 at a convenience store and didn’t immediately report it or hand it over to supervisors.

Defense attorney James Wymard has argued Detective Michael Reddy, 41, kept the money because he and his partner were getting ready to leave the city on business, and Reddy planned to turn in the money later at headquarters that day.

Reddy was charged after the man who mistakenly left the money on the 7-Eleven counter July 15 returned to claim it moments later, and video surveillance showed Reddy picking it up and putting it into his pants pocket.

City Magistrate James Hanley Jr. dismissed the charge this month, but only after acknowledging he might have ordered a private citizen to stand trial.

The DA’s office has refiled the charge and wants a county judge to determine if there’s probable cause for Reddy to stand trial. The prosecution says a jury should decide what Reddy intended.

“The decision to dismiss the charges was based on the fact that the defendant is employed as a police officer by the city of Pittsburgh police department,” a motion filed Wednesday by Assistant District Attorney Jon Pittman said. “The Commonwealth submits that that decision was an error of law.”

Hanley declined comment Thursday, and Wymard didn’t immediately return a call.

Hanley dismissed the charge after Reddy and others testified at a preliminary hearing Sept. 30.

Reddy, who remains on administrative leave, testified he picked up the envelope but made no immediate effort to alert his partner or a store clerk because he planned to turn over the money to superiors at the end of his shift.

But the envelope was unmarked meaning Reddy “would have no way of returning it to the rightful owner,” Pittman argued.

After more than three hours out of town on official business, Reddy and his partner returned to police headquarters and were told, “Just go to your desk and have a seat. We need to talk to you individually,” according to the motion, which references testimony from the hearing.

Only then did Reddy take the envelope from his pocket and ask a supervisor, “Is this about the money, the envelope with the money that I found at the 7-Eleven?”

Hanley dismissed the charge, ruling that because the detective acknowledged having the money before he was specifically confronted about it that prosecutors couldn’t prove he meant to keep it.

“Obviously, if this was a citizen that had just put his hand over that, looked at it and took it out of the store, I think the Commonwealth would have made it’s case,” Hanley said, according to the motion.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide