They sounded like they were lifted from the pages of a steamy sex novel.
"take your clothes off and take the picture."
Or an X-Rated movie script.
"guess I can tell you I wanna see you naked."
What they really are, are titillating text messages traced to the cell phone of a Cleveland Cop. Veteran police detective Vincent Lucarelli.
Carl Monday and his investigative team uncovered one thousand pages of phone records, containing some thirty thousand texts sent or received by Lucarelli. The officer did some of his texting while on duty at the 5th District Police Station. While investigating crimes, and in one case, during a police chase.
Even more troubling, Lucarelli exchanged texts with at least nine women. Some of them were victims or suspects in crimes in which he was investigating.
Private Investigator Brenda Bickerstaff told Monday there's a lot of good cops out there, but added, "he's not one of them."
Bickerstaff was working to clear a defendant accused of breaking into the home of a woman named Jasmin Harris. Two hours after a pleasant phone conversation with Harris, her phone began to ring.
"The gentleman was screaming into the phone," said Bickerstaff. "This is Detective Lucarelli. I want you to stop talking to my client."
Next thing Bickerstaff knows, Lucarelli is investigating her. Lucarelli presents evidence to a Grand Jury, and Bickerstaff is indicted for phone harassment and intimidating a witness.
So what's the connection between Harris and Lucarelli? These text messages between the two offer a clue:
LUCARELLI: "I know you want it. And I bet you are *** right now talking about sex"
HARRIS: "you may not be able to control yourself."LUCARELLI: "I'm sure you're going to have something sexy and revealing on."
Only Lucarelli and Harris know if their fantasies came true. What we do know is, Bickerstaff now faced criminal charges.
"How many other defendants went through the system that he tampered with...has deterred them from getting a fair trial," Bickerstaff wonders.
At least one criminal suspect claims she may have benefited by the "Casanova cop." A woman who asked her name be withheld told Monday she met Lucarelli and the city jail, after she was arrested for domestic violence.
At 2 a.m., she got a jailhouse visit from Lucarelli, the cop investigating her case.
She says he told her, "oh, you're hot." And, "oh, by the way, I like Black women." She also says he promised to get your out of jail by the next day.
Sure enough, the suspect was release the following day. Charges dropped. One day later she gets a phone call.
"hello, who is this?", she asked. "oh it's Vinnie. Detective Lucarelli"
Over the next month, Lucarelli sent the woman over five hundred texts. Instead of chasing bad guys, Lucarelli was busy texting.
Reporter Monday asked Lucarelli, "when do you have time to work?" The Detective didn't answer. Monday persisted. "Do you think it's a good idea for a cop to text women in cases he's investigating?" Again, the Texting Detective had nothing to say.
If there's any good news its that Police Internal Affairs is now conducting its own investigation into Lucarelli. And those charges against Brenda Bickerstaff? They've been dropped.
"He threatened to take my life. My freedom. For what? For nothing."
Lucarelli got in his car and ordered Monday out of his driveway as he drove off. Carl Monday Investigations has interviewed other women involved in the Texting Cop case, including a teenage girl. More on that to come.
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