Off-duty Indianapolis police officers allowed their part-time employer, OmniSource, to purchase suspicious or stolen metals at least 21 times in 2008, a city attorney said Friday.OmniSource employed about 50 IMPD officers as security officers, including officers who worked on investigating charges against other scrap metal yards that they had knowingly purchased stolen metal. IMPD made the police quit their moonlighting jobs at OmniSource and demoted another high-ranking police officer after the charges surfaced and the media and blogs began focusing attention on the case. Platt's Steel Market Daily had more details about information police learned after raiding the firm's scrap yards in Indianapolis. Platts reported that police recovered "folders on how to avoid anti-trust violations." The Platts report indicated that undercover police officers pretending to be auto thieves were able to sell items to OmniSource which had been altered to appear stolen. Platts also reported that OmniSource allegedly "wanted to target their competitors while employing [IMPD] officers." At the same time, Platts reported that "nothing of enforcement appeared to be happening at their yards." That triggered Mackey to write a letter to Boomershine's superiors. "Divulging confidential information in and of itself was wildly inappropriate," Mackey wrote. "Divulging it to Platts Steel Markets Daily constituted a purposeful effort on the Major's part to publicly damage OmniSource and its publicly traded parent."
The off-duty officers documented the suspicious purchases in reports that came to light during a hearing to determine whether the company should be granted a license to continue buying and selling scrap metal in Marion County.
But while they documented the purchases, they took no action to stop them at the time.
"They saw something wrong and felt it was wrong enough to document it, not knowing what would become of it," said Maj. Chris Boomershine. "That's not uncharacteristic of a lot of part-time situations where things come to an officer's attention."
Boomershine is the commander of a team of detectives who spent nearly a year documenting allegedly illegal transactions at OmniSource locations.
Soon after allegations of wrongdoing by these police and OmniSource first surfaced, then-Public Safety Director Newman assured the public at a Mayor's Night Out meeting that nothing illegal had been done by any one, including police, even before the investigation had been concluded. Newman is a former law partner at Barnes & Thornburg where Mackey and Barclay work. Barclay tells Rinehart that he expects closure to the case soon. "We've done our own investigation during that time period, talked to witnesses, looked at evidence and we're confident there's no evidence of a crime," said attorney Jason Barclay. Barclay's biography at the firm's website boasts of obtaining an acquittal for a prominent Kentucky road contractor recently who had been accused by the FBI of paying bribes and rigging bids to win state highway contracts. "He recently served as trial counsel in the month long public corruption trial of a highway contractor who was fully acquitted in federal conspiracy, bribery, and obstruction of justice charges," his firm biography reads.
We recently learned that prosecutors failed to act on a forfeiture action in a timely manner, allowing OmniSource to recover as much as $273,000 seized from the firm's scrap yards at the time IMPD began investigating. it. This set off finger pointing between the prosecutor's office and high profile attorney Greg Garrison, who had been retained to work on a forfeiture action. Garrison insisted that he had been instructed not to take any action in the case.