Beverly Hills cop vows to find stolen police gear and thief
A Beverly Hills cop, and chief, is now a crime victim.
"I worked hard to get to where I am today, I worked my way up through the ranks, and now here I sit as a victim," said Beverly Hills Police Chief Thomas Schmidt.
Schmidt is on a mission to track down the criminal(s) who stole his police gear from his personal vehicle while he was off-duty.
"They preyed on the wrong person this time," said Schmidt.
It happened two days before Christmas when Schmidt was visiting a friend at Arlington Farms Apartments in Waco.
"Usually I park in the same spot, just this one time I guess somebody was watching or whatever because that night I had been in and out of my friends apartment checking on my phone, I had my phone on the charger," said Schmidt.
But during his last trip to his truck around 5 a.m. on Dec. 23, Schmidt noticed a receipt was out of place - it was in the driver's seat instead of the console where left it.
When he checked inside the console, his police gun, tactical vest, and badge were gone.
"I didn't think I needed to take it all out because I was eventually going home," said Schmidt.
While some burglars might run when realizing they're attempting to steal from a cop, Schmidt says others revel in it thinking they've gotten one-up on the law.
"To them it's just a trophy, but to me it's my life," said Schmidt.
Coincidentally, the chief had already ordered new badges he designed and they came in the mail the next day.
However, some things can't be replaced; besides his work equipment, his sons' Christmas gifts hidden under the back seat were also stolen in addition to two other guns, a .22 rifle and a special Colt .380 pistol he was given when his mother died almost four years ago.
"That's what I want back more than anything," he said.
Waco police are investigating the vehicle burglary.
"He's good at what he does," Schmidt said of the detective. "He's trying his best and that's all I can ask for."
As a police officer, Schmidt is in a unique spot to do some detective work on his own.
He says the guns were registered but he doesn't have a serial number for the .22 he's had since childhood, so he's keeping an eye on what's being sold to local pawn shops, and he's put the word out to people at the apartment complex that he's offering a reward for finding his property or for information leading to an arrest.
"It's enough to make somebody happy," Schmidt said of the reward. "People tend to talk."
Schmidt is determined to get the weapons back where they belong and off the streets he's sworn to protect.
"I'd like to apologize to the people of McLennan County," said Schmidt. "If any of my weapons are used in anything, I don't think I could live with myself."
Schmidt is also concerned about the potential for criminal police impersonation.
"It happens everyday, we get infiltrated all the time, people impersonating us, and I couldn't live with myself if something happens to somebody, how can you live with yourself like that, it would be really hard on me if that did happen to somebody in this county," he said.
"If it did happen, I would end my career."
Schmidt thought he'd locked his truck but there were no signs of forced entry.
He's reminding the public to keep belongings secure and double check locks, because if you slip up, there's people waiting in the wings to take advantage of you.
"We need to take that extra second and make sure our stuff is secure," said Schmidt. "The people that are out there doing this, they practice, and there's usually more than one."
Schmidt says there's been no leads so far and the apartment complex doesn't have cameras, however, they did get some good fingerprints.
"It's sad because people are lazy and have to live off of other people," said Schmidt. "Like they always say, karma will come back and bite ya - unfortunately, I hope it does for them."
He says he went public with the story to show police aren't immune to crime and there's lessons to be learned from his experience.
He says he's determined to right his wrong and do his best to keep the community safe.