Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that an officer with the Richfield Police Department has been charged with a felony count of theft in office for allegedly stealing more than $25,000 from his department's "Shop with a Cop" program.

The theft in office charge against Officer Michael Simmons, 41, of Stow, was filed in Akron Municipal Court this afternoon.

Special agents with Attorney General DeWine's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) began investigating Simmons in January at the request of the department's chief of police, who became aware of unauthorized financial transactions from Richfield's "Shop with a Cop" bank account.

"The 'Shop with a Cop' program helps kids bond with and trust police, but this defendant violated that trust on so many different levels," said Attorney General DeWine. "Our investigation found that, for years, this officer not only deceived those who generously donated to this charity, but he also stole from the children whom this program was created to help. Many more kids could have benefited from this charity had this defendant not spent thousands of dollars in donations on himself."

The investigation alleges that Simmons, who was the coordinator of the program, improperly spent $26,709 in program funds on personal expenses from 2010 to 2016.  The improper spending included sporting event tickets, electronics, clothing, and tools. He also allegedly used gift cards purchased with program funds for his personal use.

Richfield's "Shop with a Cop" program helps financially disadvantaged families by taking children on a shopping trip with law enforcement each Christmas.

A warrant was issued for Simmons this afternoon.

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