It has happened again: Another cop has been fired at the Tampa Police Department, the third in the last two weeks. This one is charged with welfare fraud and grand theft.
Thursday afternoon, Chief Jane Castor made the uncomfortable announcement that she had just fired another one of her sworn officers.
"She has betrayed the community, the men and women of the Tampa Police Department, and everything our agency stands for," Castor told the media.
Investigators say Sgt. LaJoyce Houston used the EBT card, also known as a welfare card, of a Hillsborough County Jail inmate by the name of Rita Griven, and bought hundreds of dollars worth of stuff at a Gibsonton Walmart. They also say Houston gave the card to someone to sell for 50 cents on the dollar.
Houston, who is 47 years old, was with the department 16 years. Her husband, Eric, is also a sergeant there. There is no indication he was involved in any wrongdoing.
It has been rough sailing for TPD lately. Within the last two weeks, Sgt. Ray Fernandez was fired for allegedly lying about his involvement in a DUI setup in a highly publicized trial between morning radio jocks. And Detective Jeanette Hevel was fired for allegedly stealing IRS checks from the evidence room.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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