FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Corruption Unit (PCU) detectives say they arrested a veteran Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy early Friday morning for grand theft. According to authorities, Deputy Michael Spencer was arrested shortly before 1 a.m. during his shift at the Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport. He faces one count each of grand theft and committing a third-degree felony with a weapon.
According to detectives, following up on undisclosed information, Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Corruption Unit detectives conducted what they called an ‘undercover integrity check operation’ at the airport.
Wednesday evening, August 24, an agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who assisted with the operation posed as a traveler who found an unattended brown purse in the airport. The undercover ATF agent turned the handbag that contained $1,664 in cash into Deputy Spencer while he was on duty, in uniform and sitting in his marked Sheriff’s Office vehicle. The purse also contained multiple decoy items to give the appearance a traveler had lost it.
Broward Sheriff’s detectives said Deputy Spencer made no attempts throughout the rest of his shift, which ended at 5 a.m., Thursday, August 25, to turn in the purse and its contents. Instead, they said he kept the cash and discarded the purse and its contents.
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Investigators said when Deputy Spencer reported to work Thursday evening and still did not turn in the money, he was taken into custody Friday at approximately 12:50 a.m. The investigation revealed that Spencer spent about $200 of the money. Detectives recovered the remaining $1,476 of the investigative funds inside Deputy Spencer’s assigned Sheriff’s Office vehicle.
“Public safety is an honorable profession and requires people to serve with the highest ethical standards. We will continue to police ourselves, hold employees accountable for their actions and arrest them when they engage in illegal activity,” Sheriff Gregory Tony said.
Deputy Spencer has been with Sheriff’s Office since December 2001. Following Friday’s arrest, he was suspended without pay.