Fired Ohio officer must repay $15K for Shop with a Cop theft

Michael Simmons pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge.

Former Richfield police officer Michael Simmons was convicted of taking more than $15,000 from the Shop with a Cop program.

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – A northeast Ohio police officer accused of stealing over $26,000 from a charity fund used to buy Christmas gifts for financially disadvantaged children has been ordered to repay $15,000.

Investigators say now-fired Richfield officer Michael Simmons took funding from his department’s Shop with a Cop program over several years and used it for personal expenses, including electronics, clothing and sporting event tickets.

Simmons pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge. A Summit County judge put the 42-year-old Stow man on probation for two years.

Defense attorney Mark Guidetti tells the Akron Beacon Journal that Simmons wants to move on, find a new job and work to pay the restitution as agreed under a plea deal.

The local police union says the money will be distributed to charities that benefit children.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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