A West Palm Beach police officer is accused of stealing more than $1,000 from a man during a October 2018 traffic stop. The officer also stole ecstasy pills from the man.
West Palm Beach police say Nicole Palladino, 30, turned herself in at the county jail on Nov. 29 after a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Palladino received the award of valor this summer for pursuing a armed suspect. Now she is on the wrong side of the law.
On October 7, Palladino found a driver, Timothy Saintil, asleep at the wheel in the middle of the street NBC 4 reports.
Palladino said she detected the smell of marijuana and searched Saintil's car, where she found a bag of suspected marijuana, a bottle of suspected Ecstasy pills, suspected heroin and a loaded handgun.
Police said another officer found $1,003 in Saintil's pockets, placed it in an evidence bag, and gave the bag to Palladino as evidence.
It was then that Palladino turned off her department-issued body camera and counted the money confiscated from Saintil.
She then turned the camera back on and counted out a figure of only $48.
Saintil complained that when he was arrested he had more money on him than just $48.
Police later found the money in Palladino's patrol car in addition to seven ecstasy pills she stole from the traffic stop.
After a month-and-a-half long investigation Palladino was finally arrested and charged with grand theft, official misconduct, and possession of a controlled substance.
West Palm Police Sergeant David Lefont released a statement saying:
“The West Palm Beach Police Department holds its employees to the highest professional standards. We never take the public’s trust for granted. Hence, when we learned of the potential breach of public trust, it was immediately investigated, determined to be criminal in nature, and criminal charges were filed against Palladino.”
Palladino was released late Thursday on a $15,000 bond.
The West Palm Beach Police Department said that Palladino, who's been employed by the agency since January 2013, has been on leave since the incident.