St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly’s office has been appointed as a special prosecutor to review a Madison County case involving former Granite City Lt. Thomas Paul, whose unmarked squad car was stolen from him in December.
A Madison County judge signed an order on Jan. 21, appointing one of Kelly’s assistant prosecutors, Daniel Lewis, to review the “investigation and possible charging and prosecution of Lt. Tom Paul, formerly of the Granite City Police Department.”
Police on Tuesday released a new piece of information about the theft of Paul’s squad car: There was a woman in it at the time.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is conducting the investigation.
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Granite City Police reported in December that Paul suffered minor injuries after someone carjacked him. Paul told his department that someone entered his unmarked cruiser, struck him and then drove off as he inspected what he thought to be a motorist in distress. Paul was off-duty at the time.
Granite City Police said in a statement in December that the officer was westbound on North Street approaching the intersection with Illinois 3 and stopped behind a dark-colored minivan that was not moving. The officer left his car to check on the driver and noticed the driver slumped over at the wheel. As the officer tried to wake the driver, he heard his car backing up from its position, police said at the time.
Granite City Police Chief Rich Miller on Tuesday said: “Facts were not truthful, and that’s when we turned it over to an outside investigator. We chose chose the sheriff’s department.”
Miller added: “Obviously, there was an incident. He was the victim of a crime.”
Police did not release the identity of the woman. She has not been charged with any crimes.
The police car, a silver 2014 Ford Fusion, was later found in St. Louis County. It was found on the parking lot of the Hillcrest Apartments near Jennings, Mo.
There were a few guns in the vehicle when it was stolen. Five of the six guns reportedly have been recovered.
Paul retired shortly after the theft of his police car. He joined the department in 1988.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, who asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor, is married to a Granite City police officer. An appellate prosecutor often is appointed when a special prosecutor is needed. Kelly said his office agreed to take the case because the appellate prosecutor’s office is affected by the state budget.
“Because of the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield, we agreed with the state appellate prosecutor that we were best situated to assist and review this case at the request of State’s Attorney Gibbons,” Kelly said. “Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Lewis has prosecuted numerous cases of this nature and is reviewing evidence as the investigation proceeds.”