Former president of MdTA police union pleads guilty to theft from FOP

Alison Knezevich The Baltimore Sun

A suspended Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft from the union that represents his fellow officers.

Cpl. Shane Schapiro, 37, entered a guilty plea to one count of felony theft in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Prosecutors said he took money from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34, where he formerly served as president.

“He was a very highly decorated police officer who abused his position of trust and has now been held responsible,” Assistant State’s Attorney Adam Lippe said.

Schapiro was originally charged with theft between $10,000 and $100,000. Prosecutors revised the charge to theft between $1,000 and $10,000, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The state plans to ask for a suspended sentence that includes a year of home detention.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 28.

Defense Attorney Andrew I. Alperstein said he believed the state could not prove allegations of theft more than $10,000, but Schapiro has agreed to pay $30,000 back to the FOP as a compromise.

In a statement, current FOP Lodge 34 President James Kruszynski said the union is looking forward to “putting this ordeal behind us.”

“We appreciate the hard work conducted during this investigation by the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s office and our own FOP Lodge 34 Investigative Committee,” Kruszynski said.

The FOP lodge is located in Middle River. Lippe alleged that between 2014 and 2016, Schapiro used union funds for personal expenditures, including to buy fuel for his boat, to take out cash at casinos and to stay at hotels.

The officer, who was hired by the MdTA Police in 1998, is currently suspended without pay, said MdTA Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Ayd.

Ayd said he could not comment further on the case, calling it a personnel matter.

Schapiro has agreed to “separate from the department,” as part of his plea agreement, Alperstein said.

The attorney said Schapiro was dedicated to the union for years.

“I think he made some bad choices,” Alperstein said. “I know he feels badly that he disappointed a lot of his colleagues.”

Ayd said he could not comment further on the case, calling it a personnel matter.

Schapiro has agreed to “separate from the department,” as part of his plea agreement, Alperstein said.

The attorney said Schapiro was dedicated to the union for years.

“I think he made some bad choices,” Alperstein said. “I know he feels badly that he disappointed a lot of his colleagues.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/bs-md-co-schapiro-plea-20170517-story.html?platform=hootsuite

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