WATCH: Disgraced ex-Fairview cop confesses, rifles through car
- The U.S. Attorney's Office has released two videos of a former Fairview Twp. cop who's now a felon.
- Tyson Baker pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of theft of federal funds.
- He schemed to steal proceeds from drug dealers but was caught in an FBI sting, officials said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Harrisburg on Wednesday released two videos of former Fairview Township police officer Tyson Baker — one of his FBI interview and confession, the other of Baker searching a purported drug dealer's vehicle for cash to steal.
The vehicle actually belonged to the FBI, which was conducting a sting on Baker after receiving information that Baker was stealing cash from drug dealers traveling through the township.
Baker, 42, of Corn Hill Road in the township, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Harrisburg's federal court to two counts of theft of federal funds.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Sylvia Rambo told the disgraced former officer that he potentially is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Behe said the federal sentencing guideline range is between 21 and 27 months in prison.
A sentencing date has not yet been set, and Baker remains free on home detention awaiting sentencing.
Behe entered into evidence the two videos of Baker during the plea hearing. Rambo initially declined to make those videos available to the public, but reconsidered Tuesday afternoon after a request from The York Dispatch. The U.S. Attorney's Office then provided the videos.
Baker spent about 17 years with Fairview Township Police and prior to 2010 served on the York County Drug Task Force. He was charged federally after a fellow Fairview Township police officer became a confidential informant for the FBI and worked with them to investigate Baker.
The sting: On Dec. 16, the FBI set up a sting in which an FBI agent posed as a drug trafficker driving through Fairview Township, the plan being for the confidential informant/officer to pull over the agent and alert Baker, Behe said.
The undercover agent posing as a drug trafficker carried $15,000 cash and 400 inert OxyContin pills, according to Behe.
A short time after Baker was called to act as backup, he was contacted by the FBI and told the "trafficker" was under federal investigation; Baker was instructed by the feds not to search the vehicle, according to court records.
Despite that, Baker had the vehicle towed to a nearby garage, where he searched it without a search warrant, records state.
While tossing the vehicle, Baker found and removed one of the hidden cameras and also took $3,000 cash, Behe said during Tuesday's hearing. He gave $1,000 of it to the confidential informant, who returned it to the feds, court records state.
Baker "never submitted as evidence any of the cash or the camera that he removed," according to court records.
Confession: Two days later, on Dec. 18, Baker went to the Harrisburg office of the FBI, where he expected to be interviewed about the traffic stop of the "drug dealer" who was really undercover FBI, Behe said.
Instead, Baker was arrested and read his Miranda rights and questioned.
"Mr. Baker eventually confessed to the two thefts," Behe said.
The first theft happened Nov. 20, when the confidential informant obtained a warrant to search a home in the township. Multiple pounds of marijuana and stacks of cash were seized, according to the federal prosecutor.
Baker later took $2,000 of that cash and split it 50-50 with the informant, who turned over "his" portion to the FBI, Behe has said.
Baker was placed on paid administrative leave in December. On Feb. 29, township supervisors fired him.
Big spender: According to court records, the confidential informant told the FBI that Baker was the sole provider for his family and made $89,000 a year, but despite that spent money building a "very large" home on 10 acres of property, then built a 40-by-60-foot pole barn, a putting green and an in-ground swimming pool, finished his basement and also bought a $35,000 tractor and a new Ford F-150 truck.
Baker was seen on occasion with large amounts of cash, records state.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.