MAYWOOD, Ill. (STMW) – A Maywood police officer was charged Wednesday with swiping cash from suspects after he was captured in a federal sting operation earlier this week.

Robert M. Welch allegedly stole money from drug suspects during arrests or temporary detentions since at least September, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

Welch, 51, is charged in the complaint with the theft of $241 in government funds, a misdemeanor, Chicago FBI spokesman Ross Rice said. Welch appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan late Wednesday at which time he was formally charged.

Welch was released on bond, pending his next court appearance, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 30, Rice said.

Welch — a tactical officer focusing on suppressing gang activity — was arrested at a Burbank tavern Tuesday night after he took money from an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug suspect, authorities said.

Welch admitted he took the bills from the undercover agent during an initial pat-down at a Maywood Burger King, according to the affidavit. He also allegedly confessed to taking money from other arrestees for the last six months.

Among Welch’s alleged victims was a teen African-American boy whom Welch and an unidentified officer stopped in September. The other officer saw Welch remove cash from his pocket, put it on the roof of the police car and let the boy go without arresting him, according to the affidavit. The teen and his mother accused Welch of stealing $20, which Welch allegedly claimed must have blown off the roof of the car.

Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry said Welch has been placed on administrative leave. “It’s sad that you have officers who choose to punish the badge, but that officer does not define the organization,” he said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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