MIAMI - A Miami police officer who is accused of stealing from people during traffic stops appeared Monday in court and pleaded not guilty to multiple charges.
Jose Acosta, 22, is facing 34 total counts from various charges, including armed burglary, armed grand theft, petty theft and false imprisonment.
He was taken into custody to be fitted for an ankle monitor and was placed on house arrest. He was also ordered to surrender any weapons and to stay away from all the victims in the case.
Acosta was arrested March 10 after a sting operation by the Miami Police Department's internal affairs division and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement because of complaints about Acosta stealing from people.
Authorities said Acosta pulled over an undercover agent and stole $1,250 while searching the agent’s pockets and vehicle.
According to an arrest report, Acosta conducted five unreported traffic stops on the same day and had each driver step out of his or her vehicle. Each vehicle was searched and the drivers were released without being cited, authorities said.
Acosta was arrested outside his apartment as he arrived home after his shift.
Miami police said Acosta has been on the force since May 2016 and was most recently patrolling the Wynwood neighborhood.
Authorities believe that Acosta was operating on his own. They urge anyone who might have been victimized to contact police.
Acosta's attorney said his client intends to fight the charges against him.
"Mr. Acosta is a young officer who has dedicated himself to the community and has worked hard and is in this unfortunate circumstance, and we're going to work through it," defense attorney George Pallas said.
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