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Kansas

Jury selection begins in the theft trial for the man who served as an officer

 

Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a man who served as a Wichita Falls police officer and is charged with theft, according to court documents.

Ralph Ryan Piper, 47, faces trial this week in the 30th District Court on a theft charge ranging from $20,000 to $100,000, according to court documents.

Piper is accused of illegally embezzling money in connection with a February 10, 2014 incident involving AT&T, according to allegations in court documents.

The third-degree crime is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Piper asked the judge to consider her punishment in the event of a guilty verdict.

Anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A more serious money laundering charge of $200,000 or more on March 20, 2014, in connection with an alleged kickback scheme, was dismissed Monday at the request of Special Prosecutor Ted Steinke, court documents show.

The first-degree crime is punishable up to life in prison.

The Times Record News contacted city officials Monday for information on Piper’s current status regarding the Wichita Falls Police Department.

Piper was suspended without pay by the WFPD for six years.

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Not much information is available about the nature of the still-standing charge against Piper in the case records.

A Wichita County grand jury returned the final indictment against him on July 31, 2019, with one count of money laundering now dismissed and one count of theft.

Piper was booked into the Wichita County Jail on August 7, 2019 and was free on $50,000 in cash bonds, according to online prison records.

The state’s witness list includes Texas Ranger Toby Catlin; Louis Oliveri, AT&T’s lead asset protection investigator; Richard Redford of Aspen Elevator Co.; George Michael Wade and Christy Lynn Wade, show court documents.

A November 2, 2022 letter from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to the Wichita County District Secretary’s office inquired about Piper’s arrest on August 6, 2019, court documents show.

TCOLE oversees the licensing of peacekeepers and jailers, and Piper has been registered as a licensed peace officer, jailer or telecommunicator, court documents show.

The trial continued Tuesday in the Wichita County Courthouse. Check online at www.timesrecordnews.com for the latest on this story.

Trish Choate, a corporate surveillance reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, the courts, breaking news and more. Contact Trish with news tips at [email protected] Read about her recent work here. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.

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