Officer Zachary Immler of Boca Raton, Florida was arrested on December 5 for his involvement in a grand theft investigation that began in October.
Immler, 31, faces grand theft charges and was booked into jail. He was later released on his own recognizance. The press did not say if he has hired an attorney.
According to the police report, the alleged theft occurred on October 25 when Immler and other officers were executing a search warrant at a house in the 900 block of 29th Street in West Palm Beach. The homeowner cooperated with the officers and informed them that there was more than $6,000 in cash and illegal drugs hidden inside the house.
“The (woman) pointed to the dresser and said the money should be on the floor behind the curtains,” Officer Daniel Leffet wrote in the report. “(An officer) looked behind the dresser and moved the curtains. The money was not there.”
The officers found the drugs, but couldn’t locate the money. As they began to search the room again, Immler asked to speak to Sgt. David Lefont in private, the report said. He allegedly confessed to stealing the money, which was later found hidden inside a latex glove in his car.
“I got it. I got the money. I’m sorry . . . I did something stupid. I put the money in the car,” Immler told Lefont, according to court records. Police later determined that he took $6,520 in cash.
In a prepared statement, Lefont, speaking on behalf of the department, said:
“The West Palm Beach Police Department holds its employees to the highest professional standards. When we learned of the potential breach of public trust, it was immediately investigated, determined to be criminal in nature, and criminal charges were filed against the employee.”
Immler joined the police force in November 2011. The president of the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association told the press that Immler is the son of former Boynton Beach Police Chief Matthew Immler. The younger Immler has been on paid administrative leave since the day the search warrant was executed; Lefont said he has been removed from the department.
Grand theft occurs when someone unlawfully obtains or attempts to obtain someone else’s property with the intent of depriving them of their right to the property. The stolen item must be worth $300 or more.
Grand theft has several defenses, including mistake of the fact, where the offender takes something under the assumption that it is theirs; lack of intent; belief that the offender has the consent of the victim; and the offender took the property for a lawful purpose.
Hiring a good attorney is essential and can make a big difference in the outcome of the case. Even if none of the listed defenses apply, an attorney can still represent a defendant in the best possible way and help them avoid a harsh sentence and permanent criminal record.