A Michigan police chief has been fired after he admitted to pocketing around $70,000 in vehicle inspection fees, investigators say.
Bob Wilson, who has served as chief of police for the village of Shelby for the last 40 years, was removed from his position on Monday following a 5-1 village council vote.
Wilson was suspended in December while investigators attempted to ascertain whether or not the top cop kept salvage vehicle inspection fees that were supposed to be turned over to his department.
According to investigators, Wilson admitted to keeping $100 for nearly every one of 700 inspections he conducted in 2014 and 2015 – close to $70,000. The now former chief has been certified to conduct salvage vehicle inspections since 1995 and information is still being sought about inspections conducted in past years.
The Michigan State Police have also reportedly launched an investigation into Wilson. State vehicle codes require totaled vehicles to be approved by salvage vehicle inspectors before they can placed back on the road.
The laws demand up to $100 fees motorists must pay for the inspections, with inspectors checking for stolen vehicles, stolen vehicle parts etc.. Inspectors are supposed to come to some arrangement with their departments to be compensated for their work.
Supports of Wilson say he conducted the inspections outside of working hours while off-duty, and therefore has done nothing wrong. Shelby Police Officer Ralph Briese equated his actions to “moonlighting” that are not objectionable.
Investigators say their inquiry commenced after receiving an anonymous tip that the village was not receiving fees for the inspections. They say Wilson met with them on Dec. 16, and “implied that [he had] an independent arrangement separate from the Village of Shelby.”
This claim is contradictory to the evidence however with investigators maintaining that on each salvage inspection form he turned in to the state, Wilson indicated that he was “representing the Village of Shelby Police Department.”
Wilson has claimed that he had no knowledge that the inspection fees were supposed to be turned over to his department but investigators maintain that each inspection report has four copies – one of which that is supposed to be turned over to police.
While Wilson did send a copies of forms to the state of Michigan, Interim Shelby Police Chief Terry TenBrink said that he could not find any records of salvage vehicle inspections in the department.