A Berks County police officer accused of twice shoplifting with his children was ordered Thursday to stand trial.
Glenn Oesterling, a corporal with the Amity Township Police Department, tried to clear his name during his preliminary hearing, but charges of retail theft and receiving stolen property were held for court.
Oesterling, 35, shoplifted from the Giant food store in the Upland Square Shopping Center in West Pottsgrove Twp., Montgomery Co., on two separate occasions, said investigators.
"The fact that we have evidence he committed a prior retail theft doing exactly the same thing, we couldn't give him the benefit of the doubt in this case," said Heather Hines, Montgomery County assistant district attorney.
According to investigators, the police corporal loaded groceries into blue reusable bags while his three children were seated in the shopping cart.
Testimony revealed the store's asset protection officers caught Oesterling in the act and stopped him before he left the store a second time. The officers testified he was captured on surveillance cameras and stole more than $300 in groceries.
"He did not question my client and did not ask him what he was planning on doing with the items that were in his cart," said Adam Sager, who is representing Oesterling.
Sager argued plants and other items are sold outside the store, and his client wasn't done shopping. Oesterling's wife testified she asked him to buy ferns for their back deck.
When Oesterling was caught, he reportedly told officers he was a cop. He has already been booted from the Berks County Major Crimes Task Force and his job is in jeopardy.
Amity Township resident Keith Dixon sat in on Thursday's hearing and said the defense was grasping at straws.
"I don't want a police officer on our force that we pay who could potentially be convicted of being a thief," said Dixon.
Amity Township Chief Kent Shuebrook was also in court but did not have any comment on the outcome of the hearing. He said he is conducting his own internal investigation, and Oesterling remains suspended without pay.
An arraignment has been set for September 11.