Apartment manager says officer duped her into opening fake police substation

Officer under investigation

CINCINNATI -- A few months after an East Price Hill apartment manager helped an officer set up a police substation at her complex, she was hit with a big surprise.

The substation wasn’t a substation at all, she says. And the officer that asked her to set it up is now under investigation.

French Quarter apartments manager Marti Burcham said the officer, who is not being named, approached her and asked if she would like a substation.

For Burcham, the thought of extra police security was a no-brainer.

"Two weeks later, he came back and said, 'yes, we were approved’ and we had to furnish an apartment and the electricity," Burcham said.

Burcham said she then began moving things into apartment No. 9, including a bed.

She was also told to put a Cincinnati Police Department sticker on the window of the stairwell, she said.

"I saw him move stuff in -- a computer and stuff like that -- and he hung the sign on the window, so I thought it was all perfectly legit," Burcham said.

Kathy, a resident of the apartment who asked that WCPO not use her last name, said she -- like Burcham – agreed with the idea of a substation at the complex.

"When I first heard that there was going to be a substation in our complex, I thought it was a really nice idea,” she said, “It's off the beaten path…security would really really be nice."

But as time went by, Kathy said something didn't seem normal.

"Only because they were never there, it seemed like if there was going to be some police presence in the neighborhood at least they would be there on occasion,” Kathy said. “An hour here and an hour there -- but it really didn't appear that way to me."

And last week, Burcham said she learned that the substation wasn’t what she thought it was.

"The police came and said that they wanted to see the apartment and inspect it,” Burcham said. “(They asked me) how did we get chosen and later on that day they came back and talked to me again and I found out at that time it was not a substation."

WCPO is not naming the officer who is under investigation because no charges have been filed.

This case is in the hands of the prosecutor's office and will be headed to a grand jury.

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