Jacksonville officer charged with petty theft

Undersheriff says purse turned in to Sheriff's Office found in officer's car

Published On: Feb 15 2013 11:47:47 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 15 2013 06:43:51 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Police on Friday announced the arrest of a 43-year-old officer accused of stealing items turned in to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

According to Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt, Cheryl Cummings was arrested Friday morning on a charge of petty theft after investigators looked into a tip that she might be stealing items citizens were bringing into her office.

Cummings has worked for JSO since 1997 and is assigned to the Zone 4 office, which is in the Cedar Hill area of the Westside.

Police said a FBI agent posed as a citizen and turned in a teal Liz Claiborne handbag.

"The agent went into the Zone 4 substation with a bag that was a new purse with a gift receipt inside a JCPenney bag, turned that in to Officer Cummings and said, 'I found this in the parking lot,'" Senteriftt said. "Surveillance was done that afternoon. Integrity (Unit) detectives saw her take that bag to her car."

Investigators said they could see the bag in Cummings' car on five separate occasions. Police got a warrant to search her car, and the bag was not there.

Cummings is charged with petty theft because the item was valued at less than $300. Investigators said they'll be looking into the possibility Cummings may have stolen other items.

Cummings was isolated in jail because she is an officer, but had bonded out by afternoon.  Legally, she can't be told to leave her job unless she is convicted, but she will be reassigned to another unit. Cummings was already on light duty because of medical issues.

She was also arrested in 2004 on a grand theft charge as the result of an investigation into her activities in a transaction with a woman who needed her credit score fixed. She also worked at a credit fixing company then.

Cummings and the woman entered into a contract for $1,100 that the woman eventually wanted to back out of, according to a police report. Cummings was fired by the credit fixing company, and it was determined that $300 was missing, according to the report. Cummings was arrested, but the charges were later dropped.

According to Cummings' personnel record, she also has two citizen complaints and one in-house complaint. On both of the citizen complaints, she received letters of referral for improper actions.

Cummings won a Lifesaver Award from JSO in 2011. A woman went into an allergic reaction at the same Zone 4 substation, and Cummings injected the woman with an EpiPen.