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Philadelphia police officer charged with soliciting teen

Adrian Makuch was arrested Tuesday after an investigation found he had offered to take nude photos of a 15-year-old boy and buy sexual favors from a 17-year-old.

Few things turn the stomachs of those in law enforcement like having to arrest one of their own.

That's especially true when someone with a badge is locked up for trying to solicit sex from a minor, as was the case this week with Adrian Makuch, a veteran Philadelphia police officer once honored by the FBI.

Makuch, 49, was arrested Tuesday following a "lengthy investigation" that found he had offered to take nude photos of a 15-year-old boy and buy sexual favors from a 17-year-old, Internal Affairs Chief Inspector Anthony DiLacqua said last night.

He was arraigned yesterday and freed after posting 10 percent of $20,000 bail, according to court documents. Makuch, who was detailed to the Crime Scene Unit, faces a Dec. 17 preliminary hearing and was suspended for 30 days with the intent to dimiss, DiLacqua said.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said the union had no comment about Makuch's case.

Internal Affairs detectives began investigating Makuch last December, when a 15-year-old boy contacted police with an unnerving tale of a middle-aged man trolling the Lower Northeast in a silver Honda.

DiLacqua said the teen told investigators that Makuch propositioned him during the late summer, and asked if he could take nude photos of the young man.

"There was no physical contact at any time," DiLacqua said, noting that the teen did not get into Makuch's car.

The teen worried when he saw Makuch riding through the same area in the ensuing months. After he spotted Makuch's Honda again last December, the youth jotted down the license plate and called police, DiLacqua said.

Internal Affairs then began an "all-encompassing" investigation that included physical and electronic surveillance, he added.

When a reporter asked if detectives ever saw Makuch doing what amounted to cruising around for a minor to solicit, DiLacqua said: "That's possible. I'll leave it at that."

After keeping tabs on the veteran cop for some time, investigators decided to offer some bait: a 22-year-old undercover cop who posed on the streets as a 17-year-old.

Makuch went for it. He approached the undercover cop, offered to take nude photos of the supposed teenager and later solicited sex in phone calls and text messages, DiLacqua said.

Investigators finally drew the investigation to a close on Tuesday, when they charged Makuch with improper contact with a minor, luring a child into a motor vehicle, prostitution and corruption of a minor.

DiLacqua acknowledged that other people might come forward in the coming days and weeks and make similar claims of solicitation against Makuch.

News of Makuch's arrest stunned his longtime colleagues, according to police sources.

The sources said Makuch, whose father is a retired city cop, was well-liked throughout his 21-year career.

The FBI honored him and six other city officers in October for their roles in the investigation of a Jan. 13, 2007, armed robbery at the Henry Avenue Pharmacy, in which the pharmacist was shot.

He spent the last nine years in the Crime Scene Unit, where he was known for his thorough work and kindness.

"He was the guy who would volunteer to work Christmas and other holidays, so that people with kids could have off," one source said.

Some of Makuch's co-workers wept when they learned of his arrest and the nature of the investigation, another source said.

DiLacqua said he didn't believe the charges against Makuch would negatively impact any of the cases he investigated.

"They have nothing to do with his on-duty activities," he said.

DiLacqua said Makuch's arrest proved the Police Department is willing to hold its members accountable.

"Unfortunately this is not the first officer arrested in the 18 months I've been here," he said.