Former Officer Will Likely Dodge Jail for Theft

A former police officer caught stealing thousands of dollars from his new job as a sales clerk will likely not spend any time behind bars.

Last fall, Fact Finders unveiled exclusive video of Michael Retzlaff opening a convenience store safe and walking out with $8,000 cash.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Polikov called it, “more of a crime of opportunity, even though it's a lot of money.”

After turning himself in, Retzlaff got an opportunity to avoid prison if he follows the rules of diversion.

Polikov said, “That's a just decision where he works and makes restitution; makes child support payments; addresses his dependencies.”

Once Retzlaff completes diversion, the felony theft charge against him will be dismissed.

One Source does hundreds of background checks a day for thousands of companies and diversion will show up on their screens but that doesn't mean they can tell a potential employer. That means 460 defendants in Sarpy County who completed diversion have a better chance of landing a job.

One Source’s Felcia Hazuka said, “If it’s dismissed by diversion it would not be reported to employers after seven years because employers are not able to use that information for the purposes of a background check.”

A lawman for 20 years, it's doubtful Retzlaff will wear a badge again but gambling and addiction treatment required by diversion should allow him to work.

Retzlaff has agreed to repay the $8,000. If he fails to do so, it’s back to square one.

Polikov said, “We'll actually have a better case because only guilty people go to diversion, not innocent people.”

Fact Finders contacted the convenience store owner who hopes Retzlaff will succeed in the diversion program. That would mean he pays back all the stolen money though no deadline is set.


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