Bart Hayward Steinberg, 59, is charged with misdemeanor theft.
The incident, caught on surveillance video obtained by Eyewitness News, happened Feb. 15 at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center.
According to court records, Steinberg, who worked for the Brookshire Police Department at the time, was at the hospital for a person involved in a car crash.
The video shows the victim, a Houston police officer working an extra job, setting his phone on a desk. Another officer, identified as Steinberg, walks up and asks the victim a question. When the victim turns around, the suspected thief swipes the phone. The next moments show the victim searching for his phone.
"The fact that he's accused of stealing from a police officer is really the lowest of the low," said Randy Burton of Steinberg, but Burton is even more critical of Child Protective Services (CPS).
Eyewitness News has learned Steinberg started with CPS on April 26, that's after he was charged with the crime. He had already left Brookshire police and applied to CPS for a position as a special investigator, one touted as specialized to handle high profile child abuse cases. He was on the job when Eyewitness News called Thursday afternoon.
"We are conducting an internal investigation. Until we find out what happened, he (Steinberg) will be restricted from working in the field," said Tejal Patel, a media specialist with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
"I wonder what they knew or didn't know," questioned Burton, founder of Justice for Children, a child advocacy organization, often critical of CPS.
"I think it's another warning--God knows they've had plenty--that they need to be more diligent in how they hire investigators," he said.
Neither Steinberg nor his defense attorney, Paul Aman, responded to multiple requests for comment. Steinberg posted a $500 bond. The phone he's accused of stealing was valued at $700. If convicted, Steinberg will lose his Texas peace officer license and credibility, added Burton.
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