Getting caught for stealing while on the job is grounds for firing at most workplaces. But when you are a policeman, and you've been accused of stealing from a Goodwill store while out on patrol (and it seems to be caught on camera), you may want to head for the exit before the investigation formally wraps up.
Which is exactly what Brice Miller, 58, decided to do, bringing an end to his 23-year career as an officer with the DeLand Police Department in central Florida. On Thursday, Miller tendered his resignation before the internal affairs division of the DeLand Police made a decision on two incidents of alleged robbery. Both incidents were caught by surveillance cameras (as seen below) located in the back of a Goodwill store in DeLand. The most recent was in May, which led to Goodwill Industries contacting the DeLand Police.
Goodwill said that it was able to identify Miller by the number "PD 65" on the patrol car, which was visible in the videos.
Miller's decision to retire was only delaying the inevitable, the department said in a statement.
"The recommendation was for him to be terminated," Deland Police Sgt. Chris Estes told the Daytona Beach News-Journal, which was first to reported on Miller's resignation. "But Officer Miller made an appointment with the chief and it was his choice to resign."
In both videos, a person identified as Miller is seen stopping his patrol car behind the Goodwill store and then proceeding to sort through items that were dropped off for donation. The person caught on camera is then seen picking up the items he chose and walking away as if the donation pile was a drive-thru. The list of items allegedly taken by Miller includes clothing, dishes and glasses.
For his part, Miller has told the DeLand Police that he was performing freelance charity work, according to the local NBC affiliate, WBBH-TV. Miller reportedly said that he was helping a needy family and had permission from an employee at Goodwill to make the delivery.
But interviews with employees at the Goodwill store determined that no such authorization was ever granted. The Daytona News Journal said that the recipient of the Goodwill items was a longtime friend of Miller's.
"The actions seem personally motivated," the investigator wrote in his report.
Goodwill has said that it won't be pressing charges, though another local station, WFTV-TV, reports that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has said that it will be reviewing the investigation.
Goodwill, the global nonprofit services organization, is no stranger to robberies at its stores. Last December, one of its own former employees, Richard Carvan Pattaway, 29, was arrested for a string of armed robberies at two Goodwill stores in Baltimore. He is thought to have targeted Goodwill because he knew where the stores kept their money, Baltimore County spokesman Shawn Vinson told WBAL-TV.
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