Officer Thompson demoted; neither side happy with outcome of internal investigation

— A Marco Island police officer has been demoted for his role in the April arrest of businessman Joseph Oliverio for grand theft auto. Tige Thompson was stripped of his appointment as sergeant and demoted to patrolman in late June after a two-month internal investigation into the events of April 21, when Oliverio was arrested in the 200 block of Collier Boulevard. Thompson says he followed the law in arresting Oliverio, his chain of command never objected to his actions, and alleges that background documents regarding the arrest were added after an internal investigation of the event began.

Oliverio, owner of Joey’s Pizza, spoke out about his arrest on May 2 during a City Council meeting. He stated that he had met with Chief Thom Carr and City Manager Jim Riviere regarding the incident and demanded a full investigation into what happened. Oliverio claimed Thompson had a vendetta against him, and that his arrest was the result of a misunderstanding which could have been cleared up if Thompson had notified the investigating detective.

On Jan. 29, 2010, Oliverio filed a worthless check police report with Detective Glenn Zirglbel. According to that report, Oliverio entered into a business agreement with Gregory Perkins, but Perkins’ checks totalling more than $50,000 were returned for insufficient funds. Oliverio stated in the report that he had been holding Perkins’ 2005 white Bentley for nearly a year as collateral for the money owed.

According to the internal investigation, a caller contacted Officer Hector Diaz on his personal cell phone on April 21 to report that a stolen Bentley from Illinois was parked between Ne Ne’s restaurant and Joey’s Pizza. The caller also stated that Oliverio may be driving the vehicle.

After checking a national crime data base, Marco Island officers determined that the Bentley had been reported stolen from Chicago in 2010 and Chicago Police were alerted that a stolen vehicle from their jurisdiction might have been located. Several Marco Island officers, however, were aware that Oliverio was in possession of the Bentley.

Thompson conducted surveillance on the Bentley in an unmarked car while he contacted two higher ranking offers – Lt. Goetz and Capt. Dave Baer – and waited for their reply. During the internal affairs inquiry, Thompson said he understood his direction from those superiors to be that whoever got into the Bentley and drove away would be arrested, and if no one entered the car after businesses in the area closed, the vehicle would be recovered.

“We took action based on the probable cause that was established that night, the active report from Chicago Police Department and the fact that Mr. Oliverio was operating the property of another which was reported stolen from another agency,” Thompson said in an interview with the Marco Eagle on Monday. “I talked to my chain of command who expressed knowledge of this report (of bad checks) before I knew anything about the report, and (they) did not tell me to do anything different other than the surveillance, which would have concluded with someone coming back to the vehicle, or no one coming back to the vehicle. I look at it as we established the information that we needed for the arrest of an individual for grand theft auto.”

After approximately four hours, Thompson spotted a man enter the Bentley, after 10 p.m. on April 21, but says that from where he was he was conducting surveillance, he could not identify the person who entered the car. When the Bentley driver pulled out of the parking lot, Thompson followed the Bentley and an officer in a marked patrol car conducted a felony traffic stop. The driver, which turned out to be Oliverio, was handcuffed and taken to the Naples Jail. A second car following the Bentley, driven by Oliverio’s wife, Doreen, was also pulled over.

Joe Oliverio was charged with grand theft auto, but the State Attorney’s office later dropped the charges.

A final internal investigation concluded that Thompson discounted the suggestions of higher ranking officers and should have used better discretion knowing the possible vehicle driver was a well-known community businessman.

In his letter to Thompson, Chief Thom Carr wrote, “I have concluded that you have demonstrated an egregious lack of judgment in this matter.” Carr added that contacting Det. Glenn Zirglbel, the Marco officer who originally took Oliverio’s complaint, or another detective, would have cleared up any confusion about whether the Bentley was stolen or not. During his arrest, Oliverio requested that Zirglbel be contacted, but those requests were not granted.

Thompson says through the course of surveillance, he believed the police reports filed by Zirgbel were compete, but claims he later learned about a report indicating that the Bentley’s owner was charged with a second degree felony of Scheme to Defraud and was investigated by an insurance company for filing a false insurance claim. Thompson alleges that information would have been useful before an arrest was made.

“I don’t think the information was all placed together at one point for a thorough investigation.”

When reached for reaction, Oliverio claimed he arrest “was a set up to screw with me, ruin my name and my business.” He also questioned why an anonymous caller would contact a police officer on a personal cell phone.

“For what reason other than personal gain would someone do this?” asked Oliverio. The internal affairs report did not substantiate Oliverio’s initial claim that Thompson specifically targeted him.

Still, Oliverio thinks Thompson should have been fired.

“I’m not happy at all. I think it’s a joke.

“They pulled guns on me instead of going to the restaurant (and asking if I had the Bentley).”

Oliverio plans to meet with incoming police chief Don Hunter to discuss the investigation and express his disappointment to city councilman on Monday.

Meanwhile, Thompson also has criticism about how the internal investigation into his conduct was conducted. He claims no one has asked him to recount his version of events, but merely asked him to answer specific questions.

“I think it would have painted a clearer picture to the reviewers of this file,” Thompson states. “I’m disappointed that the investigation, in my opinion, did not provide all of the facts.”

Thompson, who has been with the Marco Police Department since 2006 and was promoted to sergeant more than a year ago, says he is investigating his legal options in the matter.

“I followed the law. I made contact with my chain of command and did not breach their authority, their direction.”

Oliverio is also considering his legal options.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 27

ba10da69 writes:

According to the internal investigation, a caller contacted Officer Hector Diaz on his personal cell phone on April 21 to report that a stolen Bentley from Illinois was parked between Ne Ne’s restaurant and Joey’s Pizza. The caller also stated that Oliverio may be driving the vehicle...........WHY DID NOT OFFICER DIAZ,NOT TELL THE CHEIF THAT THE DRIVER WAS OLIVERIO....ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

ba10da69 writes:

SORRY FOR THE GRAMMER.....WHY DID NOT OFFICER DIAZ TELL THE CHEIF THAT THE DRIVER OF THE STOLEN CAR WAS OLIVERIO IF HE WAS THE ONE WHO RECIEVED THE CALL...SOMETHING STINKS

liberator100 writes:

Yes, something truly stinks ba10da69. It is your spelling.
grammer should be spelled "grammar."
cheif should be spelled "chief."
recieved should be spelled "received."

softy writes:

Liberator100, apparently ba10da69 can not read either, the article states Thompson contacted his superiors which were Lt Goetz and Captain Baer. Remember chain of command, the chief after meeting with Joey began the internal investigation by his staff and made his decision on demoting Thompson following that seems like you just have a vendetta with the chief ba10da69.

MIslander writes:

Tige Thompson is so full of S***. He was fired by the County for lieing and covering up evidence. (http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2005/m...) Marco makes him a sergeant. This guy has no credibility. He's a bully and anyone who actually leaves their computer screens knows this. This guy needs to be removed immediately.

He was the main arresting officer on the two kids who got arrested for "practicing medicine without a license" on the beach. Go on collierclerk.com and look at the deposition of their cases. (http://apps.collierclerk.com/public_i...) All charges dropped. Just like this case with Joe, the state attorney refuses to prosecute the charges. What good is our great police department if no one can be prosecuted and convicted?

FDLE please come and investigate this asinine example of a police department.

marco826 writes:

There is plenty of shenanigans on all sides of this story. Also a big waste of time and money. Marco Goofiness.

August8 writes:

"Wrong--Wrong--Wrong" Here are the facts:

First of all, this officer should not be talking to anyone but his lawyer, got it!!

No one has the right to hold the property of another for payment of another debt or worthless check without authorization of a court.
If this vehicle was an active message in the national registry, an arrest should be made if a person was in possesion.Contact by a detective to verify charges and prosecution should be made subsequent to the arrest.
Anyone who had knowledge that this vehicle was an active stolen message, and knew that civil circumstances were involved, should have addressed that prior to the matter escalating to a survielance and arrest.
According to the media reports and statements here, this officer is going to prevail but he needs to shut-up and lawyer-up.
It appears to be a conflict as to who was driving this vehicle, his relationship with the manager and chief, as well as an investigation by the same detective that had previous knowledge of a civil matter and his failure to contact the originating agency to confirm the status of this stolen message.
This officer made contact with superiors who never advised him of additional circumstance and the fact that he should discontinue his pursuit of this active stolen vehicle.
This officer is absolutely correct according to media reports and should speak with his attorney!!
Is there less confusion now about why Chief Hunter will be the sucessor to Chief Carr???

kfc317#245445 writes:

Tige Thompson sure seems to have his share of "bad luck" doesn't he?? Interesting that these kind of things only seem to happen to him... makes you say hmmmm
http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2010/f...

LadyJane writes:

I find it funny that all of the people that were quick to condemn Joe Oliverio owner of Joey's Pizza ( Shadow, HappyHorowitz34145, Ohbrther have no comments on his complete exoneration in this matter. We now have the Marco Island Police accusing each other of cover-ups publicly, adding documents to the files after the investigation started to protect Capt. Dave Baer and other high ranking Marco Police. Wonder why Thom Carr resigned????
This whole false arrest and set-up was started by Bob Natale owner of NeNe's Kitchen a jeolous competitor who had complete knowledge of Bentley being held by Joe for collateral for bad checks of $56.000 that was given to Joe for rent on a house he owned on Marco Island not for a gambling debt which people accused Joe of. People should know the facts before they throw around wrong accusations!! Collier County States Attorney confirmed the Bentley and bad checks were a civil matter and Joe had the right to hold the Bentley for collateral. The owner of the Bentley filed a false stolen car report in Chicago when all along he had left the car with Joe for collateral. In the insurance investigation the insurance company found out where the car was and why and talked to Det. Zirgebal and confirmed Joe had the car. Bob Natale had knowledge of all of this. Bob Natale saw Joe driving Bentlely and called his friend on his personal cell phone, Officer Hector Diaz and and told him Joe was driving the Bentley and to arrest him for stolen car. They had knowledge that the car was never pulled from the stolen car hot sheet in Chicago. Officer Diaz along with Sgt Thompson and Capt Baer decided to go after Joe because maybe they wanted a little excitement in their life. They should remember who pays their salaries it's people like Joe Oliverio who is a prominent business owner and resident of Marco Island. The police department should be looking for real criminals not people they try to make look like one. Bob Natale knows about criminals,checkout his background. Bob Natale should worry about his own business before it fails like when his house on Barfield Rd was repossessed and how he busted out of the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago owing people money and ran to Marco Island. As I told you months ago you should check out all the facts and reports Joe filled with Marco Island Police about the Bentley the in January 2010,if Joe stold a car I am sure he would not tell the Marco Island Police he had the car.

scuba22 writes:

Sounds like august8 and patrolman thompson are friends,ahhhhh isn't that nice.Has there ever been another Grand theft auto on Marco Island?I highly doubt it, 34 officers is ridiculous for a place with zero crime.

dc5799 writes:

Is Diaz the obese one?

August8 writes:

No-No,

Don't know Sergeat Thompson, however some of the above message rings slightly true??
You can't conduct an internal investigation like this, management must be the ones to follow through on a complaint like this, not a peer who happens to be a detective, no, no.
Yep, if Thompson does what he should he will be exonerated based on the media reports, others in the Department could have some reason for concern though??
Time will tell !!

marco97 writes:

DC he looks like he is on steroids but could just be fat. I know he could use some driving lessons.

26yearsonmarco writes:

in response to LadyJane:

I find it funny that all of the people that were quick to condemn Joe Oliverio owner of Joey's Pizza ( Shadow, HappyHorowitz34145, Ohbrther have no comments on his complete exoneration in this matter. We now have the Marco Island Police accusing each other of cover-ups publicly, adding documents to the files after the investigation started to protect Capt. Dave Baer and other high ranking Marco Police. Wonder why Thom Carr resigned????
This whole false arrest and set-up was started by Bob Natale owner of NeNe's Kitchen a jeolous competitor who had complete knowledge of Bentley being held by Joe for collateral for bad checks of $56.000 that was given to Joe for rent on a house he owned on Marco Island not for a gambling debt which people accused Joe of. People should know the facts before they throw around wrong accusations!! Collier County States Attorney confirmed the Bentley and bad checks were a civil matter and Joe had the right to hold the Bentley for collateral. The owner of the Bentley filed a false stolen car report in Chicago when all along he had left the car with Joe for collateral. In the insurance investigation the insurance company found out where the car was and why and talked to Det. Zirgebal and confirmed Joe had the car. Bob Natale had knowledge of all of this. Bob Natale saw Joe driving Bentlely and called his friend on his personal cell phone, Officer Hector Diaz and and told him Joe was driving the Bentley and to arrest him for stolen car. They had knowledge that the car was never pulled from the stolen car hot sheet in Chicago. Officer Diaz along with Sgt Thompson and Capt Baer decided to go after Joe because maybe they wanted a little excitement in their life. They should remember who pays their salaries it's people like Joe Oliverio who is a prominent business owner and resident of Marco Island. The police department should be looking for real criminals not people they try to make look like one. Bob Natale knows about criminals,checkout his background. Bob Natale should worry about his own business before it fails like when his house on Barfield Rd was repossessed and how he busted out of the Mercantile Exchange in Chicago owing people money and ran to Marco Island. As I told you months ago you should check out all the facts and reports Joe filled with Marco Island Police about the Bentley the in January 2010,if Joe stold a car I am sure he would not tell the Marco Island Police he had the car.

The last thing I want to do is get in the middle of an argument between two business competitors, but I find it hard to stand by while someone tries to protect her husband by throwing Ne Ne’s restaurant under the bus, and telling outright lies about the owner.
I do not know if this is considered Free Speech, but I do believe the author, and publisher of this article, have an obligation to contact the owner of Ne Ne’s, prior to allowing the publication of slanderous comments about someone.

LadyJane writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

The last thing I want to do is get in the middle of an argument between two business competitors, but I find it hard to stand by while someone tries to protect her husband by throwing Ne Ne’s restaurant under the bus, and telling outright lies about the owner.
I do not know if this is considered Free Speech, but I do believe the author, and publisher of this article, have an obligation to contact the owner of Ne Ne’s, prior to allowing the publication of slanderous comments about someone.

In the internal affairs report that is now public record it clearly states that the phone call to Hector Diaz was made by Bob Natale and that Bob Natale made every statement that I wrote. So before you defend someone please ascertain all the facts as I have consistently asked all com-mentors on this subject. Not one thing I wrote is not totally substantiated in the Internal affairs report or public records. All I ask is that the complete truth about this incident be reported not innuendo or lies

softy writes:

august8 you must be kidding, thompson being exonerated is a joke. He was wrong and a detective was not the only person involved with the investigation. thompson has a short man problem and I would bet he did not tell his Lt or Capt the whole truth when he called them, he has been caught not doing the right thing before and it will be interesting watching him when Hunter starts, you sound like a union rep August8 which means you would not tell anyone you represented they were wrong, union people are like that, no problem, been around union people all my life but sometimes who you represent are just the bad guys. Your comment based on media reports he should be exonerated, wow are you really saying you believe what is in the papers!

August8 writes:

"Softy"
Not a union rep, for the most part not that wild about them, sometimes yes?
Like most of you I read what is printed and respond, if there is more who knows.
What I am saying is this Sergeant has reason according to media reports to rebut the Department's actions.One thing is for sure, if Joey's Pizza Guy met with the manager and the Chief and then a internal investigation was conducted by the same detective that was involved in the case, no good.For all those here that believe in due process, proof of improprioty should be objective, not bias.
If it takea a union representation or a lawyer, it certainly appears that this Sergeant should follow that course of action and avoid talking to others until that has been done.
Sometimes union, sometimes no, but this City has not exactly had a very good record in dealing properly with employee matters to say the least???

JohninMarco writes:

in response to August8:

"Softy"
Not a union rep, for the most part not that wild about them, sometimes yes?
Like most of you I read what is printed and respond, if there is more who knows.
What I am saying is this Sergeant has reason according to media reports to rebut the Department's actions.One thing is for sure, if Joey's Pizza Guy met with the manager and the Chief and then a internal investigation was conducted by the same detective that was involved in the case, no good.For all those here that believe in due process, proof of improprioty should be objective, not bias.
If it takea a union representation or a lawyer, it certainly appears that this Sergeant should follow that course of action and avoid talking to others until that has been done.
Sometimes union, sometimes no, but this City has not exactly had a very good record in dealing properly with employee matters to say the least???

What you left out is telling. The Sgt. story does not seem to be supported by the Capt. or Lt. Now if Thompson is to sue it will be come clear that either they are lying or he is. Further the court will take into consideration Thompson's prior incident with Collier County. Next I doubt that the chief, who left in some what of a hurry, can explain how he disciplined Thompson for an auto accident in 2/11 by promoting him to Sgt.
Any way you look at this, one see a PD in trouble and at least the city manager did not promote a chief from within.

August8 writes:

Johninmarco

How do you "know"what the Capt and Lt said, I don't think you do and you certainly can't prove it?
I would only say that there are many internal problems currently, no one was interested in moving anyone up from within, to much conflict and disharmany!
Goes back to what I said previously, they called Don Hunter, I do not think he called them? They have a poor history city wide in dealing with employee matters, it is well documented for all to see.I think an evaluation will take place by the new Chief and at some point thje future will be decided.
Hey----------- Mrs Hartzel, was her husband really 6'8''????

August8 writes:

Never---hated the dump

marcosandflea writes:

A suggestion to officer Thompson: May want to look at other "investigations" and how they were handled when "prominent community" characters were involved. The famed fraud asbestos dumping investigation by Reinke-Moss-Guerrero; the famous disappearing owl within days of being reported to the FWC (ask Ritchie on this one); letters sent to the Collier County Sheriff' office because the MIPD higher-ups were Moss stooges during the asbestos and toxic water dumping; and more. Also suggest that he look into how the Collier Blvd median was changed AFTER IN PLACE to allow easy access the "restaurant" owned by the guy arrested. By the way, cant wait for the first real restaurant with real food to open on Marco - Dunkin Donuts.

JGAFF writes:

Joey's rap sheet reads assault, DUI, and this incident. I also heard about some shady business deals he has been involved in similar to this Bently deal. A person lost big bucks ($500,000+) on that Restaurant that he bankrupt in Naples. This man is not without sin!!!

LadyJane writes:

in response to JGAFF:

Joey's rap sheet reads assault, DUI, and this incident. I also heard about some shady business deals he has been involved in similar to this Bently deal. A person lost big bucks ($500,000+) on that Restaurant that he bankrupt in Naples. This man is not without sin!!!

Again someone comments with partial facts and inuendo. The restaurant in Naples was closed and all the bills from the restaurant were paid. No one but Joe and his wife lost money on the restaurant.I never said Joe was perfect but in this situation he was 100% right and the Marco Island Police need to be held accountable.

August8 writes:

For What---Give me a break

marconed writes:

in response to dc5799:

Is Diaz the obese one?

yes hes the one who yhinks hes John Rambo

marconed writes:

No wonder yhe deputies refer to the MIPD as the keystone cops

August8 writes:

M.H. He's 6'8' like your husband

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