Former Alorton, Missouri police chief Michael Baxton Sr. pled guilty on Thursday in federal court to two felonies after an FBI sting caught him stealing five game systems. His bad. According to the U.S. attorney's office, an investigation of "systemic corruption within the Village of Alorton by various public officials" brought Baxton down. Charges against other officials in the town may be forthcoming.
According to a report in the St. Louis Today, unnamed Alorton police officers contacted federal authorities saying that Baxton was engaged in nefarious activity including giving favorable treatment to some suspects and mishandling evidence. FBI agents set up a sting operation using an "abandoned bait car equipped with surveillance devices in a parking lot on Oct. 5 and reported it stolen."
Baxton and another unnamed officer inspected the car, and found five Xbox 360's in the trunk. He instructed the other officer to "place four of them in Baxton's car and keep one for himself."
When confronted by the FBI, Baxton tried to blame the other officer for the theft. When they showed him evidence implicating him, he confessed to the crime. Baxton told the FBI that he had set up one game system in his basement for his son and gave the other three away as gifts to his family.
U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton called Baxton "corrupt, a thief, and a liar."
Baxton pled guilty to "theft or conversion of government property," which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years. He also pled to one count of "making a false statement to a federal officer," which is punishable by up to five years. He'll be sentenced in late April. He resigned as the police chief on Wednesday, though his role had been limited in January due to the federal charges he faced.