RICHFIELD, OHIO — Two Richfield police officers were fired Friday after Akron Municipal Court dismissed charges of stealing fencing that had fallen off a truck on Interstate 271.
Robert Gilbert and Anthony Riviotta were suspended Nov. 28. The officers pleaded guilty in court and were ordered to complete a diversion program for first-time, nonviolent offenders.
In return for completing the program, the criminal charges against the two were dismissed last week, but Gilbert and Riviotta still faced disciplinary action from the police department.
After a hearing, police Chief Keith Morgan decided to fire the men.
“There were department charges filed against both officers,” said Morgan. “After reviewing the case and the internal investigation we found that the charges had merit.”
Morgan said that Riviotta was found guilty of six charges of theft and Gilbert was found guilty of nine out of 10 charges.
Prior to being terminated, Gilbert, was placed on paid leave, as required because he is a full-time officer. Riviotta, a part-time officer, was placed on unpaid leave.
The two men were off duty Oct. 11 when a strap broke off of a tractor-trailer, causing a roll of fencing to tumble onto the highway. Gilbert, who ticketed the driver for not properly securing the fencing, and Riviotta arrived on the scene in their personal cars.
Days after the incident, the truck driver questioned authorities about what happened to the fencing. It eventually was returned.