A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was charged on Thursday with shoplifting food seven times from the Harris Teeter near SouthPark mall in south Charlotte.
Officer Samuel Yaravitz was arrested and charged with seven counts of misdemeanor larceny from the store as recently as Wednesday, police said. Jail records show only six counts of misdemeanor larceny and that the 43-year-old Yaravitz is free on $6,000 bail.
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He is suspended from the department without pay, Chief Kerr Putney said at an afternoon news conference at police headquarters.
“We are charged with upholding and enforcing the law and will continue to hold ourselves accountable when we violate it," Putney said.
"I am disappointed that a member of our department has fallen short of our organization’s high standards," the chief said. "... It's unconscionable."
The shoplifting occurred between Feb. 13 and May 9, according to a statement released by police. Police did not disclose the type of food involved.
Putney said CMPD detectives began investigating Yaravitz on Wednesday but would not say how he came to be a suspect. Yaravitz was in a CMPD patrol car on at least several of the occasions, according to the chief.
"CMPD immediately launched a criminal and internal investigation after receiving information that a CMPD officer was shoplifting at a local supermarket," according to CMPD's statement.
"Evidence and information gathered during the investigation allowed detectives to identify Officer Yaravitz as the suspect. Officer Yaravitz was arrested and charged with seven counts of larceny."
Yaravitz, a patrol officer assigned to the Providence Division, was hired by CMPD on June 23, 1999.
The Charlotte Observer wrote about Yaravitz in 2000, when a 25-year-old suspect jumped from a moving police car and was seriously injured and hospitalized.
Yaravitz was driving the squad car when the handcuffed suspect managed to reach through the patrol car window to the door handle on the outside. The car was doing 35 mph when the suspect jumped out.
Staff researcher Maria David contributed.