Bill Wechter/North County Times
The sergeant reading a letter of praise to him and an ER nurse that was written by the daughter of a person they helped.
A North County officer was in court Thursday, answering a series of charges connected to an embezzlement investigation.
Sgt. Walter McWilson, who is a certified crisis negotiator and has also worked with the Oceanside Police Department's anti-graffiti team, is accused of receiving stolen property, grand theft and conspiracy, department officials said Thursday.
"It's extremely disappointing, as we as police officers are granted public trust to constantly demonstrate the highest degree of integrity,"said Oceanside Police Capt. Tom Aguigui.
According to prosecutors, McWilson's girlfriend was an office manager at a local construction company who had access to a company credit card. Investigators believe McWilson, 37, asked her to use the card to buy him several items, including floor tile and four flat-screen TV's for a music studio he was setting up. Investigators said he then asked her to buy him gift cards at Home Depot so there wouldn't be a trace left.
"It was obvious to a lot of people that they were going through a lot of cash,"said Murrieta resident Karen Tillotson. She lived next door to McWilson and a woman she believed to be his wife. "She had a brand new Escalade and he was driving a Mercedes."
Tillotson said McWilson would often start home construction projects that he wouldn't finish including a recording studio in his garage. In 2008, Tillotson said the home foreclosed. "Everything turned and they went to a rental on the other side of town."
McWilson, who has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and is also pursuing a master's degree, turned himself in on Thursday before his arraignment at the Vista courthouse.
Hours after his arraignment, McWilson posted bail which was set at $150,000. He is due back in court on Nov. 23.