A former Philadelphia police officer copped a plea in court this week for stealing $38 from a handyman's pockets last spring while he was on duty, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office said.

Michael Winkler, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of theft and three counts of disorderly conduct Tuesday in Bucks County Court, according to a news release. He was sentenced to serve five years' probation under a plea agreement, the release said.

According to authorities, Winkler, a 17-year member of the Philadelphia Police Department, met the victim, Nathaniel Carter, when he hired him through Craigslist and paid him $600 to clean a house he owned in Bristol Township.

But the cleanup task was more than Carter bargained for, and on May 5, when Winkler - who was on duty in an unmarked city car - arrived at the site, Carter asked him if he could renegotiate his pay, police said.

This "incensed" Winkler, who pushed Carter to the ground and called 911 to report a scam, the District Attorney's Office said.

As they waited for police to arrive, Winkler took Carter's ID and $38 from his pockets and threatened to send the handyman to jail if he didn't return the $600 he already had paid him, authorities said.

According to the news release, when Winkler pleaded guilty in court he apologized for his actions and said, "I'm doing what's best for my family here today, and I think I'll just leave it at that."

Winkler was fired from the police force in July as a result of his arrest. His attorney, William Davis, declined to comment Friday.


215-854-4225 @FarFarrAway