Story at Chicago Tribune
|Robert Beeter (Tribune File Photo)|
By Kate Thayer
7:02 PM CDT, May 21, 2013
A former high-ranking Elgin police officer and current Stockton police chief was indicted Tuesday on charges he used a law enforcement database to hack into an e-mail account and get personal information, according to Kane County prosecutors.
Robert Beeter, 51, of Elgin, faces felony charges of identity theft and official misconduct, Kane County prosecutors said. He was arrested Tuesday afternoon and released after posting $2,500 bond, according to prosecutors.
Beeter could not immediately be reached for comment.
The indictment alleges that between Aug. 11, 2010 and April 12, 2011, Beeter on several occasions used personal identification information of “someone he knew” to access that person’s personal e-mail account, prosecutors said. In June 2010, Beeter also accessed the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System four times to gain information on someone for his personal use, the indictment charges.
During that time, Beeter was Elgin’s deputy police chief. Beeter also served for a period as acting police chief in Elgin, though not during the time in question. He has since been laid off from the Elgin force and, last June, became the chief of Stockton’s police department.
Prosecutors did not specify whose e-mail account and personal information was at the center of the allegations.
Recently, though, former Elgin Police Lieutenant Greg Welter filed a lawsuit against the city of Elgin, Police Chief Jeff Swoboda and other city officials. In it, Welter, who retired in 2010 after 29 years in the Elgin Police Department, claimed he was forced to retire after an affair between his wife – also a police officer – and Beeter was made public.
The suit alleges that Welter’s wife and Beeter hacked into Welter’s personal e-mail account. The lawsuit further accuses the pair of anonymously tipping department and city officials off to e-mails implying Welter improperly used his role at the department to get vehicle information – something Welter denies.
A judge earlier this year dismissed that lawsuit, agreeing with the city’s stances that Welter was not forced out and that the alleged wrongdoing was reported before Welter retired.
In another federal lawsuit, Welter and a business partner are suing Beeter and Welter’s estranged wife, Tamara Welter. That pending lawsuit claims Beeter and Tamara Welter accessed Greg Welter’s personal e-mail account.
The complaint also reiterates claims they used information they found in the e-mail to pass along to Elgin police and city officials.
Beeter is due back in court June 12, officials said. If convicted, Beeter faces between 2 and 5 years in prison, or could be placed on probation, according to prosecutors.
Stockton Police Sgt. Don Trost declined to comment Tuesday evening, but said a prepared statement was pending from officials.
Swoboda in Elgin released the following statement: “Whenever an officer is alleged to have abused their authority, no matter what rank and no matter when it occurred, we will investigate it fully and take the appropriate action.”