(CBS) — Shoplifting has escalated in the city, and the Chicago Police Department’s organized crime division is part of a task force trying to stop it.
But now the 2 Investigators have learned one of their own officers was charged with shoplifting after an alert store security guard and cameras caught the cop in the act.
According to police reports, on Oct. 18, Costco security saw a customer at its store at 1430 S. Ashland Ave. take a bottle of wine off the shelf and place it in her shopping cart. She then moved to the back of the store, where security saw her place the bottle in her purse.
The customer then walked past the cashiers and out of the store without paying and was stopped.
It turned out the customer was off-duty police officer, Katrina Grey, 42, assigned to the organized crime division. Police reports indicate that after Grey was caught she ran through the Costco parking lot chased by store officials until she was caught and taken into custody just down the street.
When Grey was asked to remove all items from her purse that she had not paid for, she took out five bottles of wine and a child’s pair of pink boots. The total cost would have been $115, if she had paid.
Grey is a 14-year veteran of the police department and makes $80,000 a year. Now, she’s on paid medical leave pending the outcome of her court case on the misdemeanor retail theft charges.
David Bradford, the head of Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety, says if one of his officers had done this when he was a police chief, “in addition to being upset, I would be very disappointed.”
“It creates big problem,” for the Chicago police department, Bradford says. “The most important thing to do is to make sure that this person is held accountable for their behavior.”
A police department spokesman says Grey was stripped of her police powers after her arrest and she could face further discipline, pending results of an investigation.
“While she currently is on medical leave, that is unrelated to this incident and has no impact on the possibility of additional discipline,” the spokesman said.
Grey did not return phone calls to CBS 2. Her attorney, Thomas Needham, says Grey, who was deployed in Iraq for a year, has “earned a fine reputation among her colleagues.”
“Unfortunately,” Needham adds, Grey “is now in the midst of some significant personal and medical problems. Once she has addressed these issues, her inexplicable and uncharacteristic behavior on October 17, 2014 will be easier for people to understand.”