Officer is charged with five robberies
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Saturday, September 01, 2012
9/01/12 at 8:19 AM
A Tulsa police officer was charged Friday with five counts of second-degree robbery on allegations that he stole money from the wallets of Hispanic drivers he had stopped.
Marvin Blades Jr., 37, is accused of victimizing five people over the course of a little more than a year, ending with the Aug. 24 traffic stop that resulted in his arrest.
Police Chief Chuck Jordan announced last Saturday that Blades had been arrested and booked into the Tulsa Jail that day on a second-degree robbery complaint after an operation conducted by an undercover officer for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control.
Jordan did not estimate then how many times Blades was suspected of stealing from drivers he had pulled over. But an affidavit filed Friday says the Police Department has received 12 complaints since August 2011 about an officer stealing cash from motorists during traffic stops.
The document states that most of those complaints were made in 2011; four were filed this year.
In most cases, the drivers did not notice that any cash was missing until after the officer left the scene, according to the affidavit, by Detective C.L. Stout.
"There was one reported incident where the victim observed the money being lifted and asked to keep some money for gas and the suspect told him no," Stout wrote.
Most of the complaints initially were reported by someone other than the driver "because the victims were in fear of the suspect officer," the affidavit says.
The first count deals with the traffic stop of the undercover drug agent in the 2800 block of North Lewis Avenue late on Aug. 24. That encounter resulted in Blades' arrest in the 500 block of East Pine Street early Aug. 25.
In the second count, Blades is charged with robbing a motorist on Aug. 3, 2011, in the 500 block of East 11th Street. According to the affidavit, the driver said $57 was taken from his wallet by an officer who shined a flashlight in his eyes and told him to look away while the money was taken.
The affidavit says the man could not identify Blades in a photo lineup. But it says investigators discovered that the man's vehicle's license plate number had been run through the police records system only once: on Aug. 3, 2011, by Blades.
The third count deals with a man who reported that he was pulled over on Aug. 9, 2011, in the 1200 block of South Lewis Avenue.
The affidavit does not specify how much money was allegedly taken during that traffic stop, but it says the officer refused to leave him $10 for gas money.
This person also was not able to identify Blades in a photo lineup, but detectives again linked Blades to the traffic stop through police records, the document says.
The fourth count deals with a March 3 traffic stop in the 2300 block of East Newton Street in which a man reported that $300 was taken from his wallet.
"Victim did not report the incident after it happened because he believed the same officer would show up," the affidavit says.
That man was able to identify Blades from a photo lineup, according to the document.
The fifth alleged robbery occurred June 10 in the 1500 block of North Atlanta Court. The affidavit says the driver said that when he got home, he noticed that $560 was missing from his wallet. The man subsequently identified Blades in a photo lineup as the officer who robbed him.
First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond released a statement late Friday saying: "When a law enforcement officer is charged with a crime, it impacts public trust. But one of the principles of the criminal justice system is that no one is above the law, regardless of their position or status.
"In that regard, Mr. Blades will be treated and prosecuted the same as anyone in like circumstances. But these allegations of abuse of police authority are very serious."
Blades posted bond and was released from jail last Saturday morning. Jordan said that day that Blades had been suspended with pay.
David Harper 918-581-8359
Marvin Blades Jr.: The 37-year-old is accused of victimizing five people over the course of a little more than a year, ending with his arrest Aug. 25