CHICAGO (CBS) — A former Lyons police officer has been sentenced to 5 years in prison, for using his badge to steal contraband cigarettes from dealers he was arresting.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports 44-year-old Jimmy Rodgers pleaded guilty to extortion in May.
A 14-year veteran of the Lyons Police Department, he was assigned to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration task force investigating illegal cigarette sales. Federal prosecutors alleged, after having confidential sources set up sales of contraband cigarettes to targets of the investigation, he detained and handcuffed suspects, but kept their contraband cigarettes and cash for himself.
“He recruited cooperating sources and purportedly sold them contraband cigarettes. In reality, the transactions were fake. He detained these individuals, he handcuffed them, he ripped their goods and their funds from them, threatened them, and kept their money for his own benefit,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Sunil Harjani said.
When the FBI got word of what Rodgers was doing, agents wired up an informant, who got Rodgers on tape.
“The individuals, the victims were purchasing contraband cigarettes, and so they were in a position where defendant Rodgers anticipated they wouldn’t complain, and he would be able to get away with the scam without anybody finding out,” Harjani said.
In his plea agreement, Rodgers admitted stealing $37,000 in cash and hundreds of cartons of cigarettes.
Rodgers lost his job after his arrest.
In addition to his 5-year prison sentence, Rodgers was ordered to pay a $49,000 fine.