HARRIS COUNTY -- In a Harris County courtroom on Monday, North Forest ISD police officer Ricky Ridley learned that if convicted he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is currently free after posting a $30,000 bond.
"Elements of the crime are not true so I am going to hire a good attorney to fight for me,” said Ridley. “What they are charging me is for the rest of my life and everything is really just not true.”
Ridley has been charged with aggravated robbery.
Houston police investigator Art Mejia says Ridley has been with North Forest ISD for four years.
"And during the time the robbery happened he was on workman's comp," said Officer Mejia.
Officer Mejia says Ridley conspired with Lionel Dixon to steal more than $10,000 from a group of people they met on Craigslist. Police say Dixon had placed a phony ad on the site claiming he had barbershop equipment for sale.
"He set everything up," said Officer Mejia.
While Dixon was meeting with them and making the transaction, the victims say an officer arrived like there was something wrong.
"Ridley got out immediately. He was wearing his police uniform, police belt and immediately drew his weapon and ordered everybody out," said Officer Mejia.
He got them out of their car and then took their money.
"For whatever reason the guy that baited and set everything up just ran and that's when the officer said let me go chase after him. Ya'll stay right here and he never came back," Officer Mejia said.
HPD's Major Offenders Division says it has evidence that this wasn't the pair's first robbery. Detectives showed KHOU 11 News pictures of the Buick Ridley was driving in hopes some other victims might come forward and speak to them. HPD also said Ridley used to work for Harris County Precinct 6 and had a few of their uniforms in his possession.
"I was wrongly accused," Ridley told KHOU.
If you were a possible victim, HPD's Major Offenders Division wants to hear from you. Just call 713-308-1200.
Houston police also says it is still trying to locate Ridley's alleged accomplice Lionel Dixon. Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713-222-TIPS.