Officer pleads not guilty in theft

When $2,000 went missing from a Taraval Station evidence locker in 2006, fingers pointed to a 30-year-old officer who was assigned to the desk job, which included handling evidence, after her involvement in the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect.

The San Francisco Police Department’s special investigations section began collecting evidence and handed it to a grand jury, which indicted Officer Michelle Alvis, a five-year veteran of the department, on Friday.

Alvis, however, denied the claims Tuesday, pleading not guilty in Superior Court to grand theft, filing a false report, preparing false documentary evidence, and two counts of theft or falsification of a government document. Her attorney, Lidia Stiglich said that the case is circumstantial and the money was, “a small amount at a big station.”

The $2,000 allegedly disappeared as it was being transferred to an evidence locker at Taraval Station on Oct. 31, 2006, according to Stiglich. Details are still unclear because the grand jury indictment has yet to be unsealed and Stiglich said she has yet to view discovery evidence in the case.

Alvis was assigned as a station keeper after her involvement in the June 2006 killing of a 25-year-old, Asa Sullivan, in the attic of a Villas Parkmerced apartment. Stiglich said since Alvis’ job required her to sign for evidence she inventoried, it would be too obvious for her to take cash evidence.

“Anyone could have taken that money,” Stiglich said. “It would make less sense to take money with your name on it.”

Alvis was arrested Friday, taken to jail and released later that day on $30,000 bail. She is scheduled to be back in court next week to set a date for trial. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison for grand theft and four years for falsifying records as a custodial officer.

Alvis is already part of a Police Commission probe in the killing of Sullivan. His family is suing the department in federal court for $10 million.

Attorney Jim Burris said Alvis’ arrest could have an effect on whether she is able to testify in the upcoming trial.

The San Francisco Police Commission has the power to dismiss an officer and will take up the case if the officer is convicted in court.

bbegin@examiner.com

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