A Killeen police officer is under investigation after a local veteran accused her of stealing thousands of dollars from him.
Peppe Hibbert, 44, filed a formal complaint against Tarita Hagan, an officer whom he claimed to have dated briefly last year.
Hibbert, a former infantryman and Army chaplain, said he first met Hagan in July, when he made a report about a problem with a local car dealership. According to his written complaint, the two exchanged phone numbers and began to date.
After about 60 days, the relationship soured. In his complaint, Hibbert said Hagan began stalking him and showing up at his home unannounced in uniform.
Hibbert was arrested for phone harassment in an unrelated case Dec. 27. He said Hagan was present as he was being booked into the Killeen jail, and convinced him to sign over to her $6,300 cash and a ring he had recently purchased.
“She said my money wasn’t safe (in the Killeen jail),” Hibbert said.
When Hibbert got out of jail, he said, he never got that money back. He filed his written complaint with the department March 26.
In an interview with the Herald last week, Hibbert said Hagan had access to his home and stole more money from him while he was in jail; however, he did not indicate that in the report he filed with KPD.
This week, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Carroll Smith confirmed there was an ongoing investigation of Hagan by the department’s internal affairs division. She said Hagan is on paid administrative leave.
Smith would not say if the investigation was related to Hibbert’s accusations, but text messages between Hibbert and KPD criminal investigation division Sgt. Betty Adams indicate the investigation was ongoing as of May 15.
Hibbert shared the text messages with the Herald. Adams declined to verify if the messages came from her, and said she forwarded all information to the district attorney’s office.
While the department continues to investigate Hagan, it does not appear she is facing any criminal charges related to Hibbert’s allegations. A complaint refusal form obtained by the Herald showed the Bell County District Attorney’s office declined to charge Hagan with a state jail felony charge of theft of $1,500, but less than $20,000 because it was “unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In one text message to Hibbert, the KPD investigator said he could still pursue the matter in civil court. “Once they refuse it, there is nothing we can do criminally,” the message read.
According to the text messages, Hagan could be suspended or terminated if Hibbert’s allegations are proven to be true.
Contact Chris McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.