Fmr. Aurora cop sentenced to community service for theft - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fmr. Aurora cop sentenced to community service for theft

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ST. CHARLES, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A former west suburban police detective will avoid jail time after pleading guilty Tuesday to stealing thousands of dollars from an organization that represents police officers, the Beacon-News is reporting.

Joseph Accardi, 36, of Naperville, a 15-year Aurora Police Department veteran, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft for taking $9,019 from the Association of Professional Police Officers in 2013.

Accardi resigned from the department on Feb. 16, and had been on administrative leave since September 2013 following an investigation by Illinois State Police into the theft.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said his office decided to charge Accardi with misdemeanor theft instead of felony theft.

"Not only did we look at the facts of what he did, but we also looked at his background," McMahon said. "We took both sides into consideration."

McMahon said felony charges could have been filed, but the former detective's willingness to accept responsibility for his crime led to his office's decision to file the misdemeanor charge instead.

On Tuesday, Accardi turned over a check for $9,019 that he stole from APPO.

As part of a plea deal, he will be required to serve 200 hours of community service, be placed on one year of conditional discharge, and participate in a theft awareness program. He was also required to pay $500 in fines and court costs.

Prosecutors said the thefts occurred from May 2010 through May 2013.

Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas said he was disappointed in Accardi's arrest.

"The accusations against Mr. Accardi tarnish the honorable profession of law enforcement," Thomas said. "When a police officer is charged with breaking the laws that he or she has taken a solemn oath to uphold and protect, it is a betrayal of the community's trust and something that cannot be tolerated."

Thomas said that as soon as the allegations surfaced, the matter was turned over to ISP.

As a result of Accardi's arrest and conviction, at least five cases charged in Kane County have been dropped, according to McMahon. Accardi was the lead detective on a felony financial fraud and identity theft case in which the suspects were accused of stealing more than $100,000 from a victim.

McMahon said prosecutors are looking at other cases to determine the role Accardi played as a detective. DuPage and Kendall counties, which include parts of Accardi's jurisdiction, were also notified when he was arrested.

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