A Dallas police officer planned and carried out the late June robbery of a Red Bird-area Sam's Club with two other men, according to court records obtained by The Dallas Morning News.
Officer Alph Coleman was arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of aggravated robbery. When investigators spoke to him Tuesday, he refused to answer questions about the June 27 robbery of the Sam's Club in the 2900 block of West Wheatland Road.
Alph Coleman Another man, who police say drove the getaway car, was arrested and released Monday on $30,000 bail on one count of conspiracy to commit robbery and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. Police asked that his name be withheld pending the arrest of a third suspect who is believed to be the gunman.
Police say the getaway driver was behind the wheel of Officer Coleman's civilian car. They also obtained cellphone records showing that Officer Coleman called the driver several times just before the gunman entered the store.
The suspicions of police investigators were immediately aroused after the June 27 robbery, in part because the unnamed gunman in the robbery didn't take Officer Coleman's weapon.
Initial police reports, interviews and an arrest warrant affidavit give the following account:
The gunman entered the store wearing black clothes, a black ski mask and blue latex gloves. He was armed with a revolver. He "ran towards Suspect Coleman with a gun in his hand, grabbed Suspect Coleman and seemingly overpowered him but did not disarm him."
Officer Coleman told police that the man held a gun to his head and threatened to kill him. The gunman and Officer Coleman walked to the vault area and tried to enter it but couldn't because store employees barricaded the door.
The gunman then walked Officer Coleman to the front of the store, out the door and to a parking lot near a grassy area. Officer Coleman told investigators that he "attempted to grab the gun of the unknown suspect. He stated they grappled over the gun and the unknown suspect shot at him twice," according to the affidavit.
Officer Coleman told investigators that the gunman shot him in his bulletproof vest.
He also said he fired his gun three times at the man, who he said fled through an apartment complex.
Investigators quickly determined that Officer Coleman's vest had not been hit by a bullet. They also were suspicious because the gunman never tried to take any cash from the registers as he walked Officer Coleman through the store.
The witness who saw the two men outside also told police that the gunman did not fire his weapon as Officer Coleman described, but that Officer Coleman fired his a few seconds later. Video surveillance also showed that Officer Coleman did not fall where he said he had.
During questioning, the man who police say drove the getaway car – convicted on a 1989 murder charge and later released – said that he, Officer Coleman and the gunman had planned the robbery together.
Police officials said Officer Coleman, hired in 2004, had no prior disciplinary history.