El Paso Border Patrol Agent Arrested In Ariz. Purse Theft

Lauren Rozyla/KFOX14 News Reporter
Posted: 3:43 pm MDT August 10, 2011
Updated: 4:09 pm MDT August 10, 2011

Douglas, AR -- A Border Patrol agent has been arrested on suspicion of stealing a woman's purse and using her credit cards to go shopping at a Wal-Mart in southeastern Arizona.

Douglas police told the Arizona Daily Star on Tuesday that 32-year-old Agent Teofilo Rodarte of El Paso, Texas, was arrested Friday on charges of burglary, forgery, theft and illegal use of a credit card.

KFOX14 went to Rodarte's Horizon City home. Family members said as of Wednesday afternoon, all charges had been dropped. However, a call to the Cochise County Attorney Edward G. Rheinheimer showed the county is still deciding whether this case will go to court.

Police say a woman reported her purse stolen last Thursday morning after she left it in her car at a gas station. She later reported that her credit cards were used at Wal-Mart for $231 in purchases.

Officers identified Rodarte as a suspect after watching the store's surveillance video and say that Rodarte admitted to the theft, which occurred while he was off-duty.

Arizona media report Rodarte already returned many of the items purchased, including a cell phone, a pre-paid calling card and clothes.
Police say Rodarte is an agent from the El Paso sector working in Douglas on temporary assignment.

The matter is now under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, said Doug Mosier, spokesman for the El Paso Sector of the U.S Border Patrol.

The El Paso Sector of the U.S. Border Patrol also issued the following statement:

"CBP leadership has placed great emphasis on integrity, and does not tolerate actions that would tarnish the reputation of our agency.

CBP will fully cooperate with any investigations of alleged unlawful conduct on or off duty, by any of its employees."

The agent’s detail to Douglas has been terminated and the agent is performing administrative duties in El Paso pending further investigation resolution of the case, Mosier confirmed.