Metro-East News

Police sergeant accused of stealing meat by stuffing it down his pants

A St. John, Mo., police sergeant was charged with shoplifting after a security guard allegedly caught him stuffing meat in his pants, according to records obtained by KMOV.

Sgt. Matthew Bathelmass was at the meat counter at a Dierbergs in Des Peres, according to a Des Peres police report from late April. A security guard told police she saw Bathelmass walk to the cooking supply aisle and conceal hamburger meat inside his waistband.

Bathelmass paid for what was in his cart, according to the report, but not the meat in his pants. The security guard confronted him as he was leaving the store.

“I asked the subject to remove the meat from his pants. He explained to me that he was a police officer for St. John Police Department,” the guard told police, according to the report. Bathelmass begged the guard not to call the police, according to the report, saying “he will lose his job, and this is his life.”

Because the hamburger meat cost more than $30, the grocery store had to report it to police, according to the report.

“He’s obviously pretty upset. Law enforcement is his career, he’s been a police officer for the last 15 years; it’s all he knows,” Bathelmass’s attorney Travis Noble told KMOV. “Once we get all the information, we will see if it was a misunderstanding or what the circumstances are. He’s hoping this doesn’t ruin his career.”

Bathelmass has been with the St. John Police Department for 10 years, according to KMOV.