Store owner speaks out about police officer who allegedly stole from him while investigating burglary

CREATED Jan 22, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee police officer has been charged with stealing money, while he was investigating a burglary.

The police officer involved allegedly re-victimized a store owner, and was caught red handed -- by store surveillance cameras.

When police responded to Hopkins Food Mart for a burglary, the store owner never imagined he'd have to worry. The owner didn't want to be identified, but he does want to share his story.

“He came to protect the store and me and he robbed me,” said the owner.

Milwaukee police officer Carl Howell is charged with stealing $200 from the store's cash register during that investigation. He pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday.

The owner showed Howell the money which the original thief had not taken. After police left, the owner checked the registers before closing up shop and found it gone.

“It was a surprise to me,” he said.

He quickly turned to the in-store surveillance cameras, but what he saw shocked him even more.

“How this can happen with the police officer?” he asked. “He's supposed to protect the public.”

After his arrest in December, Howell admitted he stole the money. He said he needed it because he was behind on rent.

The owner of Hopkins Food Mart said he's not angry. When asked if he feels it took away that sense of security for him, he responded, “Not in me. Not all police officers are the same. I don’t know why it came in his mind to do this.”

Howell faces more than four years in jail and up to $20,000 in fines. Right now he is suspended with pay.