Robert Purser: FHP Trooper fired, charged with theft

Investigation may change policies on off-duty work

WELLINGTON, Fla. - He's supposed to serve and protect, but state trooper Robert Purser is now out of a job. An eight month criminal investigation accuses him of stealing from a South Florida business.

"The ability to work off duty is not a right, but a privilege. We have policies in place to make sure that our members are following those policies and we take violations of those policies very seriously," said Major Sammie Thomas, with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Purser, a lieutenant with FHP, ran a company supplying off-duty officers for security jobs. Prosecutors say he over-billed a Miami-area company more than $200,000 between 2010 and 2013.

Court records say Purser was charging for phantom troopers, billing for two officers when there was only one on site.

The investigation has the Inspector General reviewing policies on off-duty work. Major Thomas says changes are coming.

"We are adjusting those policies to ensure that our members can be in compliance with the new standards and the new policies that are going to be issued shortly," said Thomas.

Attempts to reach Purser by phone and at home were unsuccessful.

He is one of five troopers statewide who have been investigated for off-duty violations in the last year. He is one of two who were fired.

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