Edmonton police officer charged with three counts of theft, including cash

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EDMONTON _ Alberta’s law enforcement watchdog has charged an Edmonton Police Service officer with theft and breach of trust.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team said it launched an investigation last October after concerns were raised by Edmonton police.

The allegations involve the theft of cash, prepaid credit cards and cigarettes on three different occasion while the officer was on duty.

ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson said the allegations are serious because they could undermine public confidence in police.

“These types of investigations are critical to public trust,” Hughson said Thursday. “People need to be able to trust police officers when they come into contact with them in their residences or when property is turned in or seized.”

Hughson said one of the alleged thefts occurred in a home. She said no member of the public was ever at risk of harm.

She said the charges show the criminal justice system is working well because investigators began their work based on a tip from police.

Hughson declined to release further details.

Acting Deputy Chief David Veitch of the Edmonton police said the service has no tolerance for behaviour that diminishes or destroys the trust people have in officers.

He said the allegations don’t reflect the dedicated men and women who serve the community.

“Citizens and the Edmonton Police Service expect our officers to be principled, upstanding and to act with integrity,” he said.

Const. David Ahlstrom, 40, is charged with three counts of theft under $5,000 and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer.

Veitch said Ahlstrom was relieved of duty Wednesday night and has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case. The seven-year veteran of the force has been released from custody and is to appear in court on Sept. 13.