A Philadelphia jury deliberated for about an hour Friday before finding a former city narcotics officer caught in a police "integrity test" guilty of stealing $140 from a purported drug dealer's Lexus, equipped with hidden cameras.
Gerold Gibson, 45, showed no emotion when the Common Pleas Court jury of seven men and five women convicted him of theft by deception, receiving stolen property, theft by failing to make required disposition of funds, obstruction of the administration of law, and tampering with evidence. He later declined to comment.
Judge Diana L. Anhalt let the 17-year veteran of the force remain free on his own signature pending sentencing Oct. 1.
It was the second trial for Gibson. In September, another jury was unable to reach a verdict.
"It was very difficult to overcome that video," defense attorney A. Charles Peruto Jr. said. "I did the best I could - twice - but it was just insurmountable."
Peruto said he did not know whether Gibson would appeal.
Gibson's sentence is unclear.
Assistant District Attorney Douglas Rhoads said the amount stolen - $140 - warrants probation under state sentencing guidelines, but said he did not know what he would recommend.
"The commonwealth's contention is that the nature of the case, the seriousness of the charges, and the harm to the community deserves a severe sanction," Rhoads said.
Gibson was a veteran officer with the Narcotics Field Unit when the camera-equipped Lexus recorded him inside searching the vehicle in January 2013. Gibson is seen removing $40 cash from a pair of sweatpants and a roll of bills totaling $100 from the center console.
What Gibson did not know was that the police Internal Affairs Bureau and the FBI had targeted him after fellow officers complained that he had lifted clothing and jewelry while searching drug suspects' homes.
On Jan. 31, 2013, agents planted cash, "prop drugs," and a gold Rolex watch in the Lexus and left the vehicle at Ninth and Loudon Streets in Logan. Gibson was then assigned to take possession of the car from the officer who had stopped the so-called drug dealer and return to the Narcotics Field Unit in Kensington, where the vehicle would be searched.
Though he did not have a search warrant and the cash was not in plain sight, the video shows Gibson pocketing money. Authorities said Gibson left behind the "drugs," the Rolex, and $60 in the glove compartment.
At the time, Gibson's arrest was heavily reported because he was the estranged husband of then-Gov. Tom Corbett's daughter, Katherine Corbett Gibson, a former city prosecutor then working as a prosecutor for the state attorney general's Drug Strike Force. The couple have since divorced.
In his closing argument Friday, Peruto told the jury investigators blew the arrest because they confronted Gibson in the office hours before his shift ended. Peruto said it was common practice for officers to turn in evidence and paperwork just before their shift ended.
Peruto argued that Gibson's conduct just seemed worse because it was on video: "You'd be surprised in a sting how many innocent people go down. Does that make them criminals?"
"What evidence hits you in the gut and says, 'Yes, he wanted to steal'?" Peruto asked the jury.
Rhoads told the jury that Gibson was assigned to retrieve the Lexus because it was a purported drug vehicle and he was "a specialist, a member of the Narcotics Field Unit . . . and this was about narcotics - drugs."
Yet Gibson took only cash and left the drugs behind, Rhoads said.
"This is a simple case," Rhoads told the jury. "This is all about one thing: A police officer while on the job pocketed money, and there's no explanation for doing that."