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Charges dropped against 3 officers charged with stealing overtime pay; prosecutors say they will refile charges

From left: Michael Langsdorf, Daniel O'Brien and Emin Talic.

ST. LOUIS • The circuit attorney’s office on Monday dismissed overtime theft charges against three city police officers after a judge denied a prosecutor’s request for more time to gather evidence.

A bench trial was set for Monday for city officers Michael Langsdorf, 39, Emin Talic, 26, and Dan O’Brien, 35, who were charged last year with falsifying time sheets and getting paid for overtime they didn’t perform.

Police used undercover surveillance of their homes during overnight hours they claimed to have worked in February and March 2017. Two of the three — and a fourth who was found not guilty — lived on the same street in Arnold. O’Brien lived in Manchester.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Jeff Estes on Friday filed a motion asking for more time to gather records, including payroll documents, bank statements and thousands of police department emails relating to the four officers.

“There is simply not enough time between today 9/20/18 and the 9/24/18 trial date for the state to get everything required to prepare ...,” Estes said.

Hettenbach denied Estes’ motion Friday; Circuit Judge Rex Burlison denied another request Monday for a later trial date.

On Monday afternoon, Estes dropped cases against the three officers. A circuit attorney’s office spokeswoman said the cases would be refiled.

After a bench trial in May, Hettenbach found a fourth officer, Brian Jost, 41, not guilty of the charges in the same case.

The officers, who were told to submit ambiguous overtime requests to keep the mission of the task force covert, reported to St. Louis Maj. Dan Howard, who acknowledged at the trial in May that such a policy circumvented the rules for submitting, reviewing and approving overtime.

Joel Currier is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter here: @joelcurrier.