Local News

Ex-Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing From Hispanic Drivers

Posted December 3, 2007 3:24 p.m. EST

— A former Washington, N.C., police officer pleaded guilty Monday to violating people's civil rights by targeting Hispanic drivers and robbing them while on patrol.

Steven Ray Hilsinger, 33, of Washington, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor violations that he subjected people to unreasonable searches and seizures. His sentencing was scheduled for March 3.

On Nov. 13 and Dec. 22, 2005, Hilsinger stopped Hispanic drivers for minor traffic violations. Instead of asking for identification, he took their wallets and returned them only after taking all of their cash, authorities said.

On Sept. 8 and Sept. 18, 2006, Hilsinger stopped another Hispanic driver and stole a total of $340 from him, authorities said. The driver was an undercover police officer, and Hilsinger was arrested by the FBI after the second incident.