Ex-chief of troubled Baltimore police unit faces racketeering charges

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 30, 2017 4:24 PM

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) - The former head of a scandal-ridden Baltimore police gun crimes unit was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly robbing victims of more than $90,000, becoming the eighth member of the unit to face federal racketeering charges, prosecutors said.

Sergeant Thomas Allers, 49, of Linthicum Heights, Maryland, was indicted by a grand jury last week on charges of stealing money, swearing false affidavits and submitting fake incident reports, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland said in a statement. The indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

"I condemn any and all criminal activity that erodes our trust with the community," Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said in a statement, referring to Allers' arrest.

Seven members of the gun-crime investigations unit, which was run by Allers from 2013 to mid-2016, were arrested in March on charges including racketeering. Prosecutors said they stole firearms, drugs and cash ranging from $200 to $200,000.

Many of the alleged robberies took place while Baltimore police were facing a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation for the 2015 police-involved death of a black man that plunged the largely African-American city into turmoil.

Allers is alleged to have robbed victims of amounts ranging from $700 to $66,000, including some money that had been earned legally by the victims, the statement said.

In one April 2015 incident, Allers and other officers carried out a search warrant at a home and found about $6,000 made up of proceeds from car sales and a tax refund. The officers took about $5,700 and then filed a false report saying that only $233 was seized, the statement said.

Allers faces charges of racketeering conspiracy and racketeering offenses, including nine counts of robbery and extortion. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Richard Chang)