Police: Officer to be fired for stealing $38 from contractor

A Philadelphia police officer was arrested in Bucks County on Friday after allegedly stealing $38 from a handyman he had hired, according to police.

Michael Winkler, 36, a 16-year member of the force assigned to the 15th District, has been suspended with the intent to dismiss after being charged with robbery, theft, and related counts, police said.

Winkler is accused of meeting Nathaniel Carter and Darrell Johnson on May 5 at a property on the 700 block of Newportville Road in Bristol Township, according to the criminal complaint.

Winkler, the document says, had paid Carter $600 a few days earlier to clean the property, "but there was much more work than originally contracted" and Carter left the job unfinished.

When they met at the property again, Carter tried to renegotiate the price with Winkler, causing Winkler to push Carter to the ground, demand his $600 back, and threaten to send Carter to jail, according to the document.

Winkler, who was on duty at the time and drove an unmarked city car to the meeting, then went through Carter's pockets and took $38 in cash, police said.

The officer also called 911 and asked responding officers to arrest Carter for alleged theft or fraud, the criminal complaint says. The document says Winkler claimed that Carter had given him the $38 and had promised to return the rest of his money after visiting the bank.

Winkler was arrested Friday, arraigned, and released on $200,000 unsecured bail, according to court records. The records did not list a lawyer representing him.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 27, court records said.