Fla. Officers Allegedly Trashed Suspect's Car

APOPKA, Fla. --

WFTV learned two Apopka police officers are accused of trashing the car a suspect left behind after a chase. Those officers were suspended with pay since it came to light almost a month ago.

After WFTV was tipped off about it Monday, Apopka police said the two male officers could face criminal investigation.

The car the suspect was driving was not his. Still, two Apopka police officers allegedly trashed it after he ran away, possibly by slashing the seats and pouring motor oil all over the interior.

Apopka police hadn't said anything publicly about the case for almost a month, until WFTV was tipped off and started asking questions.

"I can tell you that there is an active internal investigation going on and if in developing the facts of the internal investigation, if they determine there was a crime violation committed, then that would be referred to a criminal investigation," Apopka police spokesman Edwin Chittenden said.

There's a lot Apopka police won't say, such as who the suspect is, why they were chasing him, whether they ever caught him, and certainly not why they might have trashed the car.

The police won't release the names of the two officers, but told WFTV neither has been with the department for more than five years.

A case of vandalism would call for a criminal investigation, but Apopka police say they are doing an internal investigation first, even though that might make a criminal investigation more difficult. That's because officers must answer questions under oath in internal investigation, but if they incriminate themselves their answers cannot be used against them in a criminal case.

WFTV was told the suspect's relative owns the car and went to police to complain about the damage after being told the officers were to blame.

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