Probationary IMPD officer fired, accused of pawning city property

Juan Baez

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department probationary officer has been fired following an investigation that determined he sold property and then reported it stolen.

During the subsequent investigation, detectives also discovered that Juan Baez III pawned city property, including a ballistic helmet and vest.

According to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Baez is charged with counterfeiting, theft and false informing following the investigation from the Greenwood Police Department and the IMPD Special Investigations Unit.

Baez reported a burglary at his residence in Greenwood on Sept. 1. However, several of the items he reported stolen—including a PlayStation 4 video game console, a Super Nintendo, wedding rings, a pendant and a necklace—had been pawned at First Cash Pawn in Indianapolis and GameStop in Greenwood on Aug. 22, 2018—more than a week before he reported the burglary.

Further investigation found that Baez had pawned the ballistic helmet and vest 12 days before selling the other items.

Investigators reviewed pawn records that included a photo of the person pawning the items as well as a thumbprint, signature and copy of a state-issued driver’s license. The records were a match for Baez, investigators said.

Paperwork retrieved from the pawn shop included an agreement stating that the items were not stolen and that the person pawning them had the right to do so. Baez signed the agreement to sell IMPD equipment for $175 on Aug. 10, 2018, according to court documents.

When investigators spoke to Baez during a follow-up investigation, he told them he’d made up the burglary story to hide the fact that he’d sold items belonging to his wife. He said he needed the money and “admitted that he knew it was wrong,” according to court documents. He said his wife had no knowledge of what he’d done.

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said Baez was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 6. He was ultimately terminated on Sept. 10. Since Baez was still under probationary status with the department, Roach could terminate his employment immediately without the approval of the Merit Board.

Baez, who’d been with the department for a year, was assigned to the Southeast District.