Metro-East News

Cop’s squad car was stolen by woman he met via internet, report says

Former Granite City Police Lt. Thomas Paul
Former Granite City Police Lt. Thomas Paul

Former Granite City Police Lt. Thomas Paul initially told his superiors that his squad car, loaded with four handguns, two rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, was stolen while he was checking on a motorist slumped over the steering wheel.

Paul didn’t tell police that he had a woman in his police car when it was stolen in January 2016, and he didn’t tell them that he had arranged to meet her on the internet.

“Paul later told Maj. Ken Rozell that he felt bad about how hard the detectives were working on the case and wanted to tell the truth,” stated a Granite City police report obtained by the Belleville News-Democrat under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

Paul pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in March. He was sentenced to two years of probation.

Neither he nor his attorney, Rob Elovitz, could be reached for comment.

Paul initially told his fellow officers that someone entered his car, struck him and drove off as he investigated what he thought to be a motorist in distress. Paul was off duty.

But in the days after the car was stolen, Paul told his superiors that he was talking to a woman, later identified in the charges as LaMonica Henderson, 24, whom he met through Craigslist or The SeekingArrangement website proclaims that it “delivers a new way for relationships to form and grow. Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies or Mommas both get what they want when they want it.”

Paul agreed to meet her at the Hardee’s restaurant at 3249 West Chain of Rocks Road in Granite City at 5 p.m. The two went to an area behind Robinson Steel at 2325 North St. in Granite City, where he stopped the car. The woman got into the backseat when Paul got out of the car.

“She locked the doors to the car and drove away,” the police report stated.

St. Clair County Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Lewis, who was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case, said in a statement at the time of Paul’s plea that there was sexual activity in the car before Henderson drove off.

Paul tried to stop her, grabbing onto the car, and suffered minor injuries.

Henderson was on felony probation at the time for failing to return a rental car to Enterprise Leasing in Swansea. She pleaded guilty to felony theft in that case.

Henderson has not been charged in connection to the stolen police car. The investigation in the case is ongoing, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, which is handling the case.

Paul told police that inside the car he had:

▪  A model 22 Glock.

▪  A model 41 Glock.

▪  A model 42 Glock.

▪  A model 43 Glock.

▪  A Colt M16 rifle.

▪  One rifle.

▪  Two bulletproof vests with “Police” on them.

▪  500 rounds of 9-mm ammunition.

▪  200 rounds of .45-caliber ammunition.

▪  Three clips of 30-round M16 ammunition.

▪  A department-issued walkie-talkie.

▪  A department-issued cellphone.

▪  A department-issued tablet.

▪  His personal wallet with his police identification, driver’s license, credit cards, checkbook and $100 cash.

Five of the six guns in the car were recovered.

The squad car was later found on the parking lot of the Hillcrest Apartments in Jennings, Mo.

Paul retired after the episode but before he was charged.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer