GARY — A police detective accused by the Hammond Police Department of misdemeanor criminal conversion is on administrative leave, Gary police Lt. Dawn Westerfield said Tuesday. 

George E. Dickerson is accused of buying items March 4 at a Wal-Mart self-checkout register that an employee had erroneously filled with the wrong denominations of currency, which resulted in Dickerson receiving more change than what he was owed, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Due the employee's error, when Dickerson used a $20 bill to purchase two items that cost $4.48, he did not receive $15.52 in change, but instead received $45, according to court records. Dickerson then allegedly made 10 more purchases from the same machine, and eventually received $495 in change, the affidavit states.

The 41-year-old Gary police detective, also a member of the Lake County/Gary Metro Homicide Unit, is accused of exerting unauthorized control over a total of $495 that belonged to a Walmart in Hammond, where Dickerson worked as a security guard, according to the affidavit. 

The transactions were captured on surveillance footage and security personnel at the Walmart provided police receipts for the transactions, according to the affidavit.

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Dickerson was placed on administrative leave March 31, the same day the department became aware of the allegations, Westerfield said. 

It was not immediately known Tuesday if Dickerson's $49,304 annual salary is subject to court-ordered garnishment. He has been with the local department since July 2009, she said. Dickerson has been reprimanded once by the department, Westerfield said, in 2015 under the department's use-of-force policy. 

"The city of Gary and the Gary Police Department have no comment while the criminal and internal investigations continue," Westerfield said in an email. 

The charge is under review by the the Lake County Prosecutor's Office. 

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