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HOUSTON A Houston police officerwas suspended after he was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft.

Officer Stefan Riha was arrested Tuesday night after an internal affairs investigation. Citizen complaints of shake downs during traffic stops triggered the investigation.

Riha has been with HPD for four years and was assigned to the Midwest Patrol Division.
He lived with his parents in a townhouse on the west side before he became an officer in 2007.

Neighbor Kurt Voller said he and other neighbors liked Riha so much they gave him job recommendations to HPD.

I have only the highest impressions of Stefan. Very surprised to hear what you just told me, said Voller.

Another next-door neighbor, who asked not to be identified, had a different story.

[My mother] gave him a good reference, and so did my brother, and sometime after that the nastiness just started, she said.

She said after Riha became an officer, Riha's parents started acting badly toward her.

The neighbor said she learned about Riha's arrest from her son.

My son's a police officer. He called and asked 'Mom is your neighbor's son Stefan Riha? Well he was just on the news for taking money for payoff for tickets or something. Geez he's in a world of hurt, she said.

Officer Riha and others were sued for injuring a woman during her boyfriend's arrest in 2008. That case was settled and the parties are not allowed to comment about it. HPD is not commenting either, which is typical in an internal affairs investigation.

Riha faces 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 if he is convicted. He is suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.

He was released from jail on $5,000 bond.

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