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2 East Cleveland police officers indicted for theft while on duty

Alfonzo Cole and Willie Sims have been accused of stealing from multiple individuals while on duty.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

Two East Cleveland police officers have been indicted on charges after allegedly stealing from multiple individuals while on duty.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced on Friday that 34-year-old Alfonzo Cole and 31-year-old Willie Sims were indicted for incidents that occurred from July 2020-July 2021. The indictments come one week after two former East Cleveland police officers were indicted by a grand jury for allegedly tampering with records and insurance fraud.

The charges issued on Friday include:

Alfonzo Cole

  • Four counts of Aggravated Robbery
  • Two counts of Grand Theft
  • Three counts of Theft
  • One count of Petty Theft
  • Four counts of Theft In Office
  • One count of Tampering With Records

Willie Sims

  • Four counts of Aggravated Robbery
  • Five counts of Theft
  • Four counts of Theft In Office

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office provided the following timeline of the incidents involving Cole and Sims:

July 7, 2020

Sims responds to an argument in the parking lot of a gas station located near Euclid Avenue and Shaw Avenue in East Cleveland. After spotting a gun in the victim's vehicle, he searches the car and allegedly removes $3,850.

September 22, 2020

Cole conducts a traffic stop near Euclid Avenue and Marloes Avenue in East Cleveland. He allegedly removes $850 and approximately $400 worth of suspected marijuana from the car and issues a traffic citation to the victim containing his signature and an East Cleveland Police sergeant’s signature.

November 8, 2020

Sims executes a traffic stop on Paige Avenue in East Cleveland. He proceeds to remove $1,300 from the trunk of the vehicle, which was owned by a 34-year-old passenger in the car.

June 22, 2021

Cole executes a traffic stop on Bender Avenue in East Cleveland. He removes $4,000, suspected marijuana, and a firearm from the vehicle.

June 22, 2021

Cole executes a traffic stop on an 18-year-old on Noble Road in East Cleveland. After asking the 18-year-old if there is a gun in the vehicle, he searches it and removes the victim's mother's firearm, which was located under the seat and bullets, which were located in the glove box.

July 8, 2021

Sims executes a traffic stop on the same victim from the November 8, 2020 incident. He removes $781 and suspected marijuana edibles from the vehicle.

July 8, 2021

Sims and Cole execute a traffic stop on a 21-year-old at a gas station located near Euclid Avenue and Superior Road in East Cleveland. They remove remove $4,000 from the victim’s vehicle. 

The victim proceeded to report the theft to the East Cleveland Police Department (ECPD). The ECPD then contacted the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department (CCSD).

On July 13, 2021, CCSD executed a search warrant at Cole's residence and recovered the guns from both June 22, 2021, traffic stops, along with suspected marijuana edibles. The investigation also revealed that Cole had forged an East Cleveland Police sergeant’s signature on the traffic citation issued on September 22, 2020, and that the sergeant was not on the scene at the time of the traffic stop. 

In total, the investigation revealed that $14,781 was stolen along with two firearms from six total victims.

Previous Reporting:

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