According to the Washington Post, the Miami Police Department held a press conference on March 13 wherein they announced that rookie officer Jose R. Acosta was arrested in a weeks-long sting operation. Upon his arrest Acosta was immediately fired and charged with armed theft and armed burglary.
"Instead of seeking to rid Miami of crime, he became a criminal himself," Miami-Dade State's Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the Post. "These acts of public corruption make everyone, unfortunately, very cynical."
MPD told the Post that Acosta would leave his assigned patrol area and enter the artsy, upscale Wynwood neighborhood to find his victims. According to the police report, Acosta would pull drivers over and detain them in his patrol vehicle. While the victims were in the vehicle, Acosta would rifle through their wallets, purses, and vehicles and relieve them of any money or valuables.
"The victims were not aware at the time," Deputy Police Chief Luis Cabrera said at Monday's press conference. "They legitimately believed it was a traffic stop. He was randomly running the vehicles he was stopping and obtaining information. He had no probable cause."
Unfortunately for Acosta, his last victim was an undercover agent. Acosta allegedly stole $1,250 from the agent and was immediately arrested. During an interrogation, Acosta admitted to stealing more than $6,000 during his crime spree.
Florida state attorney Fernandez Rundle told the Post that Acosta may end up facing more serious charges as more evidence comes to light.
"Using a police badge to commit crimes is intolerable," she said.