Indictment: Officer Stole $250,000 From Crime Stoppers

The Dallas police officer who headed Crime Stoppers for seven years is accused of stealing money from the program.

Senior Cpl. Theodora Ross was arrested Wednesday afternoon and taken to a Dallas federal court. Investigators say she stole more than $250,000 from the program over a five-year span with the help of a co-conspirator, Melva Delley.

An indictment unsealed Thursday alleges that Ross provided Delley with tip numbers and codes that could be presented to a bank to collect Crime Stoppers reward money.

The two women then allegedly would split the cash, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say no false arrests were made based on the tips.

Ross and Delley are both charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Ross has been under investigation since a bank told a man last year that someone had collected his Crime Stopper funds.

Delley was arrested and led police to Ross.

Ross, a 26-year Dallas police veteran, was subsequently placed on administrative leave. She had been in charge of the Crime Stoppers program since 2003.

"The Dallas Police Department views her suspected activity as a major breach of public trust and fully supports the investigation of the incident and, given the investigation's finding, follow-up prosecution," the department said in a written statement Thursday.

The Dallas Crime Stoppers office is staffed by Dallas police and Dallas County Sheriff's Department deputies.

"We will also evaluate the checks and balances within the Crime Stoppers program to prevent this from ever happening again," Russell Verney, executive director of the North Texas Crime Commission, said in a written statement.

The Crime Stoppers office is funded by the North Texas Crime Commission, fines set by Dallas and Collin County courts, private donations and fundraising.

Dallas police said Thursday that all personnel associated with the Crime Stoppers program will take random polygraph tests. Term limits would also be imposed for anyone that is associated with the program and more in-depth audits will be conducted.

The measures are effective immediately.

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