The Chicago Police Department failed to return more than $3.6 million that was confiscated from people who were arrested and is refusing to disclose where the money is, charges a man who is suing to get his money back. The Chicago Tribune reports that the money was confiscated from 20,452 individuals between February 2002 and December 2004 and should have been returned, but was not, said attorney Thomas Peters, who filed the motion on behalf of the man and others in the class action suit. “If a private person or a corporation did this, they would be indicted,” Peters said. “They took the money and kept it. It’s theft.”
Sheri Mecklenburg, chief counsel to Police Superintendent Philip Cline, said she told Peters, “If we owe people money, we will pay it back. He wasn’t interested in meeting.” Police officers confiscate millions of dollars each year–$24.2 million between Feb. 12, 2002, and Dec. 15, 2004. Most of it–$14.4 million–was forfeited after court action. An additional $2.3 million was returned to owners by court order and $1.7 million was returned after authorities declined to seek forfeiture actions.