YOUNGSTOWN - A Youngstown police officer was allowed to resign rather than be fired after the department received several complaints that he was taking money from people on the street.
Phil Chance Jr., who joined the force in 2006, resigned Friday. Under the agreement he reached with the city, he can no longer be a police officer in Ohio.
The resignation follows an investigation the department's Internal Affairs Division launched with help from the FBI earlier this month, police Chief Rod Foley said.
Foley said items were planted where Chance would be sure to see them, and some of those items went missing. Investigators later found the items in Chance's personal vehicle, the chief said.
Foley said he did not want to go into details about what was taken because he did not want to reveal investigative techniques.
The investigation was prompted by complaints from several people Chance had contact with as an officer who complained he had been taking money from them, Foley said.
Foley said investigators looked into their claims because their stories were consistent and none of the people wanted any leniency for themselves, only their money back.
Earlier this year, Chance was suspended in April and also signed a last chance agreement stipulating he would be fired if he violated any more department rules after a string of four internal affairs investigations starting in November.
One of the investigations was started after a supervisor told his superiors the officer's job performance was tailing off and that he suspected Chance may have been using prescription drugs. Chance provided a prescription when ordered, but hadn't told his supervisors before then that he was on medication, which is required.
Chance also was investigated following a shooting in January in which he arrived on the scene more than an hour after he was dispatched.
He also is accused of leaving his post in the city's 911 Center without permission and lying to internal affairs investigators.
In August 2010, Chance was involved in a shooting in the parking lot of a Midlothian Boulevard bar in which a driver refused to stop after Chance tried to warn the driver about loud music.
The driver of the car was shot in the chest and later pleaded no contest to driving a vehicle while intoxicated. An internal affairs investigation cleared Chance in that shooting. He was investigated by the FBI as well.
Before the shooting, his file showed he had not been disciplined since joining the department in 2006. He was an officer with the Humility of Mary Police Department before joining Youngstown.