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Two San Francisco police officers convicted of theft and conspiracy

Two San Francisco police officers convicted on theft and conspiracy charges

Two San Francisco police officers were convicted Friday of federal felony charges stemming from the theft of money, drugs and other property from crime scenes in 2009.

After a month-long trial, a U.S. District Court jury convicted Sgt. Ian Furminger and Officer Edmund Robles of wire fraud, conspiracy to violate civil rights and conspiracy to commit theft related to a federally funded program.

Robles also was found guilty of stealing at least $5,000 worth of property from a federally funded program, namely the San Francisco Police Department, which receives money from the U.S. government.

The two men  worked in the plainclothes unit at the Mission District police station from 2009 to early 2010, when most of the alleged crimes were committed.

The evidence, much of it based on the testimony of a third policeman, indicated that the officers split $30,000 found in the backyard of a drug dealer in Newark, where San Francisco police were assisting federal investigators.

The witness, Officer Reynaldo Vargas who pleaded guilty in the case, said Robles wanted to spend his share of the money on an expensive bicycle and Furminger planned to install skylights at his home.

In another search, the officers found more than $500 in gift cards in the hotel room of a suspected drug dealer. The officers used the gift cards to go shopping, according to the evidence.

Vargas also testified that he and the two officers took marijuana from a seized UPS package and that he later gave the drugs to two people who the officers wanted to enlist as informants.

Defense attorneys challenged Vargas' credibility, contending that he was a liar and a convicted criminal who implicated his fellow officers only to save himself.

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