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Cop Stages Own Murder After Stealing from Kids Program to Pay for Porn, Mortgage Payments

Illinois police Wednesday say Charles Gliniewicz "carefully staged" his suicide to make it look like he was murdered. The incident triggered an extensive manhunt for suspects who did not exist.

by Reuters and VICE News
Nov 4 2015, 9:10pm

Photo par Nam Y. Huh/AP

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Illinois police Wednesday confirmed that one of its officers executed "a carefully staged suicide" which triggered an extensive manhunt for suspects that did not exist, after the cop became nervous about an audit he believed would expose his years-long embezzlement of public funds.

At a press conference Wednesday, authorities revealed that Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz's had committed suicide in September, but staged it to look like he had been killed in the line of duty.

"Gliniewicz committed the ultimate betrayal to the citizens he served and the entire law enforcement community," said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander George Filenko. "The facts of his actions prove he behaved for years in a manner completely contrary to the image he portrayed."

The revelations Wednesday morning came at the end of a two-month probe, which found that over a seven-year period, Gliniewicz, 52, had stolen thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program, a youth program that the officer oversaw. He then used the money for personal purchases, including on adult websites, travel, mortgage payments, gym memberships, and cash withdrawals, police said.

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Filenko did not specify the exact amount stolen, but said that it was in the "five figures." He added that the evidence also "strongly indicates" at least two other people were involved, but declined from further comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

Shortly before the shooting suicide on September 1, Gliniewicz became concerned about a village of Fox Lake internal audit of inventory that would have potentially exposed his criminal activities, Filenko said.

"We have determined this staged suicide was the end result of extensive criminal acts that Gliniewicz had been committing – in fact he was under increasing levels of personal stress from scrutiny of his management of the Fox Lake Police Explorer program," Filenko said.

The morning of his death, the officer, who was a 30-year Fox Lake police veteran, made a radio call to dispatchers to say that he was chasing three male suspects on foot, according to police. Gliniewicz, who was experienced in setting up mock crime scenes, left a staged trail of police equipment, including pepper spray, a baton and his glasses, to mislead investigators and emergency workers into believing there had been a homicide, Filenko said. The officer then shot himself twice in the chest. He was found at the scene and later died from his injuries.

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The shooting drew hundreds of local, state and federal officers to search around Fox Lake, about 60 miles north of Chicago and near the Wisconsin border. The Federal Aviation Administration also ordered a no-fly zone over the search area.

Around Fox Lake, a village of around 10,000 people, Gliniewicz was known as "GI Joe" because he had served in the military. At the officer's vigil, where his wife and sons were also present, colleagues called him a "fallen hero."

On Wednesday Filenko said the embarrassment felt personal.

"This is my first time as a law enforcement officer, in my career, that I felt ashamed by the acts of another police officer," he said.