SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A San Francisco police officer is due in court next week on charges that he stole public money by spending long periods of his shift at home.

52-year-old Ron Gehrke, a 19-year veteran of the force, was suspended without pay after being arrested the day after Christmas last year. His arrest came after being watched by undercover officers for more than a month.

The case developed after a neighbor anonymously contacted the police department to report a cruiser was often parked outside Gehrke’s home.

Gehrke’s defense attorney, Stuart Hanlon, said a 6-week period of surveillance revealed days when he was at home for hours at a time.

“Those facts are correct. But the question is, was he off-duty? He never didn’t respond to a call, he was always available and some of these times were lunch break,” Hanlon said.

Gehrke has been charged with 10 misdemeanor counts of theft of public money.

Hanlon said if his client pleads guilty, he’d lose his job. A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Thursday, October 24.

“To see if it’s resolvable with a plea agreement, which I don’t think it is. So we’ll pick a trial date, probably in February of next year and go to trial,” Hanlon said.

Hanlon said he expects one of the main focuses of the trial to be the question of what kinds of breaks are acceptable in police culture. If convicted, Gehrke could face up to a year in County Jail.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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