By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Raskolnikov or not, Dallas police Internal Affairs Division documents do suggest that, during this period, Maples-the-thief was often seized by an irresistible impulse to shoot himself in the foot. During another April heist, for example, Maples showed a security guard the $1,600 he pocketed--a move that virtually guaranteed he would be nabbed. "I would do things like that," Maples says now. "I was subconsciously trying to get caught, to get out of a bad situation, when I didn't have the courage to do it myself."
Maples later told investigators that Roper had been pressuring him to recruit more officers and to "produce"--that is, pull off his own thefts and share the proceeds with Roper. Public integrity and internal affairs documents show that, through the middle of May 1998, Maples had pulled off exactly two of his own thefts. To get Roper off his back, Maples says, he'd begun making up tales about thefts and simply tithing to Roper from money Roper had previously given him.
Then came the public integrity sting, which Maples and Roper spotted. The May 21 setup seems to have helped Maples locate his misplaced cojones; shortly afterward, Maples claims, he finally got up the gumption to tell Roper he "didn't want to do it any more."
was racially prejudiced.
In response, Maples says, Roper urged him to stay "in the game." And just 10 days after the failed sting, Maples pulled another heist, an amateurish and astonishingly wishy-washy job. In the wee hours of May 31, 1998, a 20-year-old kid named Joshua Jordan and several friends pulled into the driveway of Jordan's mother's East Dallas house. He had just gotten out of the car when he noticed a couple of figures around the corner. Jordan, who was packing, later said he thought they were about to break into his mother's house; he exchanged a round of gunfire with the dark figures and went inside to call police.
Unfortunately, the figures Jordan shot at were the police, investigating a burglary at a nearby store. Within minutes, Jordan was on the ground and the premises was a sea of blue uniforms. Maples was one of several officers who arrested Jordan; Maples patted him down and found his wallet, which had $650 tucked inside.
At least two cops on the scene later recalled seeing Maples with Jordan's wallet, and Maples says he commented aloud that Jordan deserved to have his money confiscated for shooting at a cop. When no one followed up, Maples says, he simply pocketed Jordan's cash. (If any cops overheard Maples' comment, they never told internal affairs. Maples claims one cop later assured him, "Don't worry, I didn't give you up" to internal affairs.)
Maples apparently tried one other interesting tactic he had picked up somewhere along the way. Joining several cops searching the bushes along the perimeter of the scene, Maples emerged carrying a purple Crown Royal bag. As officer Jason Sibley later recalled, "Officer Maples took me to the rear of the squad car and showed me a Crown Royal tie bag. The bag was in the trunk, and he told me it contained some drugs, and that it belonged to the suspect." Everyone took Maples at his word.
It seems that Maples later decided the drugs weren't needed. Jordan was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, and the Crown Royal bag never made it down to the property room.
After that, Maples says, he flat-out refused to steal. And when Roper finally saw he couldn't lure Maples back "into the game," Maples says Roper tried to buy his silence.
In late June, Maples says, Roper asked him to come by Roper's apartment. "There were stacks of money in his living room," Maples recalls. And he said, 'Why do you want to mess this up? We've got a good thing going here.'
"I said I just couldn't. And that's when he walked back into the bedroom and came out with a shopping bag full of cash. And he said 'Here. Keep your mouth shut.'"
Maples says he took the money, more than $30,000, and put it in his apartment safe. Later that summer, he moved it to a storage unit nearby.
For his part, Roper continued to generate complaints in which Maples played no role. According to Roper's indictment and internal police records, in three separate incidents between May 28 and October 28, Roper illegally pocketed nearly $100,000.
Three nights before Joshua Jordan's arrest, Roper, riding alone, pulled over a black 1995 Ford Mustang driven by Federico Leyva. What happened next was hotly disputed. Roper said he saw marijuana "clutched" in passenger John Gabriel Leyva's hand. John Leyva said that Roper had the hooch, which he planted on Leyva only after running his prints--presumably to be sure Leyva wasn't an undercover officer. In any event, Roper searched the car and found a purple Crown Royal bag containing $4,200 in cash inside the center console. Roper next searched the trunk, where he found a larger bag that, the Leyvas said, contained somewhere around $24,000. A second cop, Michael H. Baesa, had by then arrived; he saw Roper snag the cash from the trunk and the purple Crown Royal bag of cash. But Baesa says in an IAD statement that the pile of cash was not counted at the scene.