Peering into a bedroom drawer full of cash – at a Baltimore County home where an estimated $418,000 in cash was stored – Sgt. Thomas Allers helped himself to a bundle of it.
According to a federal racketeering indictment unsealed this week, Allers encouraged the two detectives with him that day (March 11, 2014) to do likewise and partake of the bounty.
The owner “wouldn’t miss a stack,” Allers allegedly assured them, prompting the two others to pocket approximately $8,000 to $10,000 each.
Allers’ adult son, who was present even though he was not a police officer, also took some of the money, prosecutors said.
By the time Baltimore County police arrived, nearly $68,000 of the original huge stash had been spirited away.
The allegations are part of Allers’ nine-count racketeering indictment on charges of robbery and extortion. Allers is the eighth officer to be arrested as part of a sweeping federal probe targeting corruption in the Baltimore Police Department.
At a hearing yesterday, the 49-year-old from Linthicum Heights pleaded not guilty to all the charges, but was ordered held in detention pending trial.
The arrest of the 21-year veteran signals a move up the chain of command in the prosecution – Allers was the head of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF), the elite unit at the center of the investigation.
He is charged with swearing out false affidavits, filing false incident reports and stealing more than $90,000 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 when he was the officer-in-charge of the GTTF, a special unit created to investigate firearms crimes.
Entering homes in his capacity as a police officer executing a search warrant, Allers located money from the occupants “and chose not to charge them criminally when he stole cash from them,” the indictment said.
And when Allers became aware that fellow officers in the unit were under investigation, prosecutors say, “he tipped them off in order to thwart law enforcement efforts.”
PAST BREW COVERAGE
In March, seven other officers were indicted on similar racketeering charges and for filing fraudulent overtime claims. So far two have pleaded guilty.
The indictment was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning and Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Baltimore field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Just do This Here”
Responding to the latest charges, Commissioner Kevin Davis said the department “remains committed to constitutional policing” and promised that “police officers that commit criminal misconduct will face the certainty of accountability.”
State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby acknowledged that, as with the previous seven federally indicted officers, the Allers indictment will likely result in more dropped cases. (So far, Mosby’s office has dropped 77 criminal cases involving the indicted task force members.)
Meanwhile, the text of the 28-page indictment includes allegations about Allers that would be of potential concern to criminal defendants and any citizen.
In some cases where Allers stole, the indictment said, there was no evidence of criminal conduct by his victims – the money had been earned lawfully.
• In an April 2015 incident, Allers and two detectives entered a Baltimore home and found $6,000 there – money the husband had made buying and selling used cars and a tax fund the wife had received.
“Just do this here,” Allers allegedly told the other two. They collectively pocketed $5,700 and Allers approved a report that falsely stated they had recovered $233 from the search.
• During the team’s search of a home in March 2016, Allers allegedly robbed the occupants of more than $7,000. Some of it was money the woman had earned as a certified nursing assistant and was intending to use to pay household bills.
The woman “had $200 in her purse, which her daughter had received the previous day during her birthday party, $900 to pay her rent for that month, $300 to pay down the amount of money she owed Baltimore Gas & Electric for utilities and $8,000 which was the proceeds of B.H’s drug sales,” the indictment said.
Pocketing Cash and Sharing it
In one instance, prosecutors said, a robbery by Allers and his GTTF team lead to lethal results.
After Allers and three detectives took $10,000 from a man in April 2016, according to the indictment, the man “was shot and killed because he could not repay a drug-related debt.”
In addition to pocketing stolen cash, Allers is said also, at times, to have handed it out.
After taking a man into custody in May 2016, prosecutors said, Allers and the other officers went to the home where the man was living and took $1,000 from the basement where he slept.
Before leaving, Allers gave $300 of it to the owner of the house, the man’s grandmother.
After the March 2016 incident in which Allers allegedly took $7,000 from two people, he gave a small portion of it to one of the other officers.
“Here is some lunch money,” Allers said to him, according to the indictment.