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Did a former Beaumont PD officer convicted of theft receive preferential treatment?

In June, a judge found Michael Wirfs guilty of Class A misdemeanor theft for falsely reporting overtime that the former police officer did not work. (KFDM/KBTV photo)

A former Beaumont Police officer convicted of theft was never booked into jail and processed like other defendants, KFDM/KBTV has learned.

The Jefferson County District Attorney is looking into the matter, which raises questions as to whether the officer received preferential treatment.

In June, a judge found Michael Wirfs guilty of Class A misdemeanor theft for falsely reporting overtime that the former police officer did not work.

When we asked for Wirfs mugshot from the sheriff's office, Sheriff Zena Stephens told us she discovered Wirfs had never turned himself into the jail, which is standard procedure.

"Any person that's issued a warrant generally has to be brought to jail," Stephens said. "Of course having the mugshot, secondly we've got to get finger prints and thirdly and really important ... we need a tracking number associated with every charge of someone who goes through the criminal justice system."

This presents a problem, especially in the Wirfs case since part of his punishment was to surrender his law enforcement license. Without the tracking number, other police agencies would not learn of his conviction and could possibly hire him.

"There are background checks for a reason," Stephens said. "This information is aggregated for a reason, kept for a reason ... to ensure we don't lose people."

District Attorney Bob Wortham said he's looking into the issue. But County Clerk Carolyn Guidry said the DA's Office did not file an arrest warrant with the original complaint, which Guidry said should have been done.

She said it was not until a court clerk noticed there was no arrest warrant when one was finally issued.

But by that time, a plea agreement had been reached, which means the warrant did not reach the sheriff's office until after the case was closed.

In addition to losing his law enforcement license, Wirfs had to pay a $4,000 fine as well as restitution and court costs. His attorney Cory Crenshaw declined to comment on the case.

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