Dirty drug agent comes clean on stolen money - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dirty drug agent comes clean on stolen money

December 18, 2006

Albany-  A dirty cop pleads guilty to stealing from a house he raided, but surprisingly, he won't spend time in prison.  In March, Albany Police Corporal Robert Von Mendenhall was caught taking cash during a drug raid.  Monday, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years probation, a sentence that didn't sit well with fellow officers. 

Robert Von Mendenhall, who's no longer a law enforcement officer, admitted to his crime, and said he was sorry and embarrassed, but that wasn't enough for one of his supervisors.   

In open court, a dirty cop came clean.

"I did indeed pocket the cash, to this day I don't know how much I put in my pocket," said Robert Von Mendenhall, former drug agent.

The victim claims Von Mendendall pocketed $3,000, at least $440 was found on Von Mendenhall at the East Park Court home. Monday, Von Mendenhall apologized to his fellow officers for disgracing the Albany Police force.

"I cast dispersions on the Albany Police Department, the drug unit especially, and for that I apologize and I will live with that regret for the rest of my life," said Von Mendenhall.

That apology wasn't well received. If he wants forgiveness he needs to go find a priest," said Major Bobby Hooper, APD supervisor.

Major Bobby Hooper spoke on behalf of the Albany Police Department and urged Judge Gray to make an example of Von Mendenhall.

"His betrayal of the public's trust, of authority, and disregard for his oath of office strikes against the very core of police values and defames the honor of all officers that have given their lives defending the innocent," said Hooper.

Prosecutors agreed, saying the former drug agent should get the maximum 23 years in prison.

"We recommended that in order to protect the integrity of the police force and protect the integrity of the other officers serving some sentence should be imposed that included confinement," said Greg Edwards, Assistant District Attorney.

Judge Gray refused to send him to prison, instead giving Von Mendenhall three years probation.

"I feel like I need to honor the fact that you did in fact enjoy a good reputation for many, many years," said Judge Loring Gray, Dougherty Superior Court Chief Justice.

Von Mendenhall was ordered to repay two thousand dollars in fines and court costs. Judge Gray had also considered making Von Mendenhall walk the downtown streets wearing a sandwich board that reads I'm a thief, but said the former officer had already endured enough humiliation.

Von Mendenhall's was given first offender status which means he'll have a clean record after he gets off probation.        

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