Matthew A. Knuckles

Matthew A. Knuckles - Arrested on charges of official misconduct and theft over $500, for stealing money related to his work and creating false documents to cover up the thefts. Was sentenced to 24 months probation after he pleaded guilty to felony official misconduct.

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DECATUR — Matthew Knuckles, a former narcotics detective with the Decatur Police Department, was sentenced to 24 months probation after he pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to felony official misconduct, for stealing work-related funds from the department.

Knuckles, 44, stood before Circuit Judge Thomas E. Griffith, dressed in a black-and-white checked shirt and blue jeans, as Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Koll recited the factual basis of the case against him.

An internal investigation by the police which began in February 2013 showed that this defendant was responsible for missing and misused funds that was property of the Decatur Police Department, Koll said. He had created false documents to cover up his misuse of $9,260 in funds, from June 2012 to January 2013.

Phil Tibbs, Knuckles’ attorney, said the agreement includes a $1,000 fine plus court costs, a $200 DNA fee to register his DNA, a $25 per month probation fee for 24 months, and an order to testify in all cases for which he is a witness.

Knuckles was also ordered to pay restitution for the money that was stolen.

“I received a cashier’s check for $9,260,” Koll said. “That is the amount of restitution.”

Griffith said Knuckles was charged with a Class 3 felony.

“You could be sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison or a maximum of five years in prison, followed by two years of mandatory supervised release,” Griffith said.

After the short hearing was completed, in which Knuckles was not asked to speak, he was asked outside the courtroom if he wanted to make a statement.

“I’m sorry I broke the public’s trust and I’m going to pay my dues,” Knuckles said.

An 18-year Decatur police veteran, Knuckles resigned from the department on Feb. 15, one day after his arrest.