A former detective with the Louisville Metro Police Department has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $75,000. In federal court Wednesday, Kyle Willett, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of theft from interstate shipment.
Before retiring in October, in the midst of an LMPD investigation, Willett had been part of the Narcotics Airport Interdiction Team. The team was responsible for identifying drug money that came through the airport, but according to court documents, from January to August 2016, Willet “would identify UPS packages that possibly contained cash. He would then take the packages to his vehicle and open them. On a number of occasions, he then stole the contents of (the) packages.”
According to prosecutors, Willett got away with an estimated $74.745.99 in cash from the packages.
“He apologized for what he did, he’s taken responsibility, but I think it’s important for everyone to know that’s whose money it was. It’s cartel drug dealer money,” said Willett’s attorney, Brian Butler.
Still, Butler declined to comment on his client’s motivation, “I can tell you without question it was not greed. Greed did not motivate him to do this. He was not spending this money to live a lavish lifestyle, but we’ll be addressing that more at sentencing about why this happened.”
Acting on a tip from California, federal agents had put Willett under surveillance, eventually taking him into custody in September at the UPS hub while he was working. According to Butler, Willett confessed on the spot and most of the money taken was turned over to authorities that day.
“Detective Willett wants to apologize to Louisville Metro Police Department, apologize to the people of this community for letting them down, and we hope and pray all recognize 20-plus years of service to this community should not be discounted by one unfortunate situation,” Butler said.
Willett will be formally sentenced April 19. A maximum sentence would mean 10 years behind bars, but Butler is hoping for home incarceration or even probation.