City Paper is not for tourists
It can be difficult to walk away from a good deal, but the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI believe three District police officers should have.
In recently filed court documents regarding the arraignment of Officer Dioni Fernandez, Officer Guillermo Ortiz, andOfficerSilvestre Bonilla Wednesday, authorities say the three crossed the line when they attempted to purchase, among other things, one of Apple’s swankiest devices: The iPad. The machines were allegedly purchased from a seller who suggested they were stolen. The seller was actually cooperating with the police as part of a sting.
Since January, documents say, authorities have been investigating “illegal activity” conducted by cops looking to buy stolen goods. On March 1, Fernandez purchased electronics from the bogus seller, papers say. Following a phone conversation with the informant in which Fernandez discussed purchasing an iPad, the two met up in an alley behind Carolina Restaurant on 14th Street NW, authorities allege. When Fernandez, accompanied by another officer, drove up in a police cruiser, court papers say, Fernandez was told to get in.
After a short drive, the seller left an iPad on one of the car’s seats and got out. Before that, the seller and Fernandez allegedly discussed what Fernandez owed for the tablet. Fernandez said he would call the seller later about the money, court papers say.
Fernandez indeed followed up, say documents. He called the seller and told him to go to a hair salon, where, documents say, the officer’s sister-in-law gave money for the item. How much? $150 bucks. Considering the cheapest iPads go for about $499, that’s a considerable markdown.
It was such a good deal, Fernandez might have wanted more. “Approximately 10 minutes later, the CW [Cooperating Witness] received another call from Officer Fernandez,” say charging documents. “Officer Fernandez asked the CW how many more iPads he had.” Fernandez allegedly said he planned to resell them. The seller told Fernandez not to say they were stolen, court papers say.
Ortiz, on the other hand, wasn’t necessarily into iPads. According to court papers, on Jan. 24, he purchased “one iPhone and a 22-inch color TV for $250.” The haul was worth over $800. Afterwards, Ortiz is said to have wanted more also, asking the informant to get him jewelry and two flat-screens TVs.
According to court documents, Bonilla went all in after buying several iPod Nanos for $200 on Jan. 13 and being told the seller’s nephew was an employee at an Apple Store and was stealing the products directly from the business. Allegedly, Bonilla was soon purchasing multiple iPhones and iPods.
The officers have been charged with receiving stolen goods. Online court records don’t currently list attorneys for the men.
Photo by 111graus via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic