FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Lee County Sheriff's Deputy is suspended for three days after admitting to interfering with an official investigation.
In August, Lt. Michael Miller was the victim of a burglary. He was upset, as you can imagine, but then took matters into his own hands and started pursuing an innocent man. According to an internal affairs investigation obtained by WINK News, Miller admits he interfered with an investigation and violated Sheriff's Office policy.
On August 8th, while Miller was vacationing at Fort Myers Beach with his wife and her family, someone broke into their condo and stole $18,000 worth of jewelry.
Detectives in charge of the case identified a person of interest, but they never considered that man to be a viable suspect.
Miller however, wasn't convinced. The vehicle belonging to the person of interest was towed, at the request of management at the condo. Miller told his superior he wanted to "check it."
On August 12th, Miller went to AFA Towing and searched the vehicle without a search warrant. According to the IA report, he also took items out of the car. He later admitted to investigators that he shouldn't have searched the vehicle and interfered with the investigation.
"That's the biggest problem with this. If we represent the alleged burglars in this case we're going to argue how can the evidence be trusted," said Defense Attorney Joe Viacava, who is not associated with this case.
"It just opens up so many questions that can lead to reasonable doubt."
Miller's superior, Captain Eric Smith, admitted to investigators that he made 13 phone calls to people associated with the person of interest. Three people complained to the Sheriff's Office that they received "threatening phone calls" related to the burglary. Smith denies he made any threats.
Miller was suspended for three days for interfering with an official investigation and violating Sheriff's Office policy. His superior, Capt. Smith, was suspended for two days.