Two NYPD Police Officers Charged With Theft & Official Misconduct

Published on January 28, 2020, 4:36 pm
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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictments of New York City Police Officers JOSEPH STOKES, 40, for stealing $4,800 during an “integrity test” conducted by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and JOSE ARACENA, 35, for separately stealing $220 during the same integrity test. STOKES is charged in a New York Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Official Misconduct, and ARACENA is charged in a separate New York Supreme Court indictment with Petit Larceny and Official Misconduct. 1

“These officers are accused of stealing from someone they believed to be the perpetrator of a crime – in other words, someone who might have been met with disbelief had they come forward to report a theft by police officers,” said District Attorney Vance. “Crimes committed by members of law enforcement threaten the essential public trust that our communities place in us, and will be vigorously prosecuted by my Office’s Public Corruption Unit.”

As charged in the indictment, on October 29, 2019, at approximately 01:45 a.m., the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau performed an integrity test involving STOKES and ARACENA. During the operation, the defendants arrested an undercover officer, posing as an intoxicated driver, at a traffic stop on Stanton and Orchard Streets on the Lower East Side.

Following the arrest, STOKES and ARACENA brought the undercover officer to the NYPD’s 7th Precinct for processing and both defendants separately searched the undercover’s car. During the search, STOKES discovered several “stash cans” – hollow containers of hidden money disguised as fruit punch – containing approximately $4,800. Surveillance video captured STOKES hiding the cans under his own car in the 7th Precinct parking lot. When the undercover alerted STOKES to the presence of this money in the car, STOKES told him that he had thrown the cans in a passing garbage truck. The money was never vouchered and members of the Internal Affairs Bureau found the two cans under the defendant’s car later that day.

Hidden cameras inside the undercover’s car captured ARACENA taking $120 from inside the glove compartment and $100 from the center console while he searched the car for registration paperwork. That money was never vouchered and ARACENA told STOKES and another officer that there was no money in the car when he searched it.

Assistant D.A. Stephanie Minogue is handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Julio Cuevas, Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and Luke Rettler, Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Investigative Analyst Nikki Datta and Senior Rackets Investigator Christo Christonikos also assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for its assistance with the investigation.

Defendant Information

Joseph Stokes, D.O.B. 07/20/1979
Brooklyn, NY


  • Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count;
  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, one count.

Jose Aracena, D.O.B. 04/28/1984
Brooklyn, NY


  • Petite Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, one count;
  • Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, one count.

1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

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