PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia police officer, who was supposed to protect inmate’s belongings, is now accused of stealing from them.

Charles Jacoby III, 30, worked as a cell block attendant in the 22nd District, according to assistant US attorney Kevin Brenner.

“Guarding inmates who were incarcerated and he was responsible for safeguarding their personal belongings, which were removed from them as they were being processed,” Brenner explained.

But instead of properly securing inmates’ belongings, Brenner says Jacoby was using them for personal gain.

“He would take the debit and credit cards to a Wawa store in Philadelphia where he would use the cards to purchase various items for himself and to fill up the tank of his personal vehicle and then he would rip up and throw away the stolen cards.”

“He was taking credit cards from arrestees and using them for his own purpose. I mean, we have video of him using the cards,” says Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. “We started the investigation because of some complaints that we had.”

Ramsey says Jacoby took advantage of his position.

“There have been other complaints it has happened in the past, we weren’t able to prove it. This time we were. I’ll be firing him obviously, that paperwork is being generated now, and I will sign it as soon as it gets on my desk,” Ramsey said.

He says the allegations are taken seriously, adding that it’s an embarrassment to the department.

“He’s certainly not someone who should be a member of this organization and we’re going to do everything we can to root them out, (we’re) not going to stop. So, however embarrassing it is, you just have to bear with it until we clean house.”

Jacoby is charged with wire fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.

Reported by Hadas Kuznits and Jim Melwert, KYW Newsradio 1060

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