January 8th, 2010

"А я думал - дали пистолет и вертись как хочешь"

Офицер полиции в Миннеаполисе арестован за ограбления.

A Minneapolis Police officer and member of the department's SWAT team has been arrested in connection with four separate robberies in Dakota County.

Timothy Edward Carson, 28, was booked into the Dakota County Jail early Thursday morning and charged in U.S. District Court with one count of first-degree bank robbery.

He was arrested after a bank robbery in Apple Valley on Wednesday. Sources said Carson, who worked in the 3rd Precinct of South Minneapolis, allegedly robbed the bank while he was on his way to work.

Authorities said Carson was arrested at the precinct station. His locker at work was searched and evidence was confiscated.

"This is probably the most shocking thing I've seen in my 30 years, as far as what a police officer could have done. ... This tops it all," said Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. "It sullied the badge, but remember, it was guys in badges who caught him, including Minneapolis officers who assisted."

Police said they have linked him to four robberies over the past month. All four took place near his home in Dakota County.

Authorities said he has also been connected to three more robberies that happened in his own South Minneapolis precinct within the last week -- two gas stations and a coffee shop where he walked away with $65.

The Sovereign Grounds coffee shop is located on East 48th Street in Minneapolis. The owner, who didn't want her name to be released, is in shock.

"I couldn't be more shocked if you told me it was Jesus who did this robbery," she said. "Who are you suppose to trust? Now I'm finding out it's not only a police officer but it's our police officer."

One of the robberies took place at a Wells Fargo Bank in Apple Valley. About 40 minutes before the robbery, an Apple Valley police officer pulled Carson over.

According to an affidavit by an FBI agent, Carson identified himself as a police officer and showed the Apple Valley officer his identification. The Apple Valley officer told Carson that his vehicle needed a front license plate, and then Carson was allowed to leave.

The FBI agent said a short time later, the same Apple Valley officer was called to the Wells Fargo Bank robbery. While he was heading to the bank, the officer observed the same vehicle Carson was driving, heading away from the bank.

The affidavit said Carson showed up late to work that day at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Divison. Towards the end of his shift, an Apple Valley detective and FBI agent confronted Carson.

Carson eventually admitted to robbing the Wells Fargo bank. He told the detective and FBI agent where the evidence was located.

Authorities found the cash taken from the bank robbery and the gun used in Carson's locker at the MPD Special Operations Division. Hunter said that some of the clothes in the robbery, including the coat, ski mask, gloves and tennis shoes, were found in a trash can outside the station.

"We go through great effort and expense to hire and train the best candidates as police officers because of the trust society grants those with a badge. We know a few will fail," Dolan said. "However, not even that reality can mitigate the shock and embarrassment of allegations of criminal behavior. This does tarnish the badge."

Sources say Carson is cooperating with police. Carson will remain in custody. A public defender will be appointed to represent Carson, as it was determined that he does not have stable finances. The charges filed on Thursday, were just one day short of Carson's three-year anniversary as a Minneapolis police officer.