Missouri police sergeant charged in $37,000 theft

O'FALLON, Mo. – An Elsberry police sergeant has been charged with breaking into his stepmother’s house and stealing $37,000 hidden in a briefcase.

Elsberry Chief Brian Jeffries said Tuesday that 26-year-old Michael Bales has been placed on unpaid administrative leave. He is charged with felony burglary and theft.

Authorities say the burglary took place in January 2013. An iPod, a handgun, a gold ring and the cash were reported stolen.

The stepmother tells authorities she suspected Bales because he had been out of work and knew about the hidden money.

Bales has worked for the department for about two years. Jeffries described Bales as an “outstanding officer.”