Ex-Phoenix police officer sentenced for theft

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James Michael Wren By Jennifer Thomas James Michael Wren By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- A judge has sentenced a former Phoenix police officer for stealing cash from drug dealers during traffic stops.

Maricopa County Superior Court says Judge Michael Kemp sentenced 23-year-old James Michael Wren Friday to 1.5 years in prison. Wren pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit theft.

Maricopa County prosecutors said Wren was indicted on eight charges connected with on-duty traffic stops of drug dealers in his west Phoenix precinct.

The charges included theft, money laundering, armed robbery, kidnapping and use of a wire or electronic communication in drug-related transactions.

Wren resigned after being arrested by officers working an undercover operation. Authorities say Wren came under suspicion after an informant told Avondale police he previously helped the officer identify drug dealers to target.

Police then set up an undercover operation where the informant set up another rip-off with Wren.