State Police lieutenant accused of stealing after sergeants turned him in

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A 20-year veteran of the State Police force is accused of stealing on the job by putting in for overtime he never worked.

He quickly retired before he could be fired, now he’s charged with seven felonies.

The now-former lieutenant of the New Mexico State Police office in Roswell ended his 20 year career on a sour note.

“It’s a sad end to his career, but as the chief, again, I’m not losing any sleep over it. There’s no room in my organization for theft or fraud or dishonest officers, so get out,” NMSP Chief Pete Kassetas said.

Investigators say Gary Smith is accused of stealing on the job and claiming overtime hours he never actually worked.

Smith retired in February when he was in the midst of being fired.

The initial investigation came about when a sergeant accidentally saw Smith’s timesheet. He claimed it seemed suspicious because he knew Smith hadn’t worked an overtime operation.

State Police checked Smith’s phone and found he was in Roswell when he claimed to be in Lincoln County.

Three sergeants noticed a pattern with their lieutenant. Police say there were three different five-hour overtime shifts where Smith falsely claimed he worked overtime collecting almost $600, and that may have not been all.

“I’d like to say we caught it all but there is no guarantee there,” Chief Kassetas said.

Police note that Smith admitted to falsely claiming overtime on two occasions. While disappointed, the chief commended the officers who turned him in.

“It’s very courageous to speak up, and they did and that was the right thing to do,” Chief Kassetas added.

Smith has been in the news before — but for a very different reason.

He was dropping off his child at Berrendo Middle School in 2014 when 12-year-old Mason Campbell opened fire. Smith rushed inside the gym to help just after a teacher disarmed the young gunman.

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