A longtime Nassau cop was arrested Tuesday on charges he shoplifted $40 worth of baby food.
Hiding "numerous pouches of baby food on his person using plastic bags and a bungee cord," Officer Thomas Welsh, 48, was off duty when he allegedly stole the food from a West Hempstead Stop & Shop supermarket, the police department said Tuesday in a news release.
Welsh, a 25-year veteran of the force, was released on an appearance ticket on charges of petty larceny and possession of burglary tools. He's due to appear at First District Court in Hempstead on May 17.
He's been suspended without pay for 30 days -- the maximum allowed under the union contract.
The alleged theft happened Monday just before 6 p.m. Welsh surrendered Tuesday and was arrested in Mineola.
Asked about the time between the theft and the arrest, a police source said the store initially did not want to press charges.
Police did not say how Welsh was caught. He was arrested by the department's Internal Affairs Unit the day after the alleged theft.
A manager at the Stop & Shop at 520 Cherry Valley Lane said only: "We were just talking about that. I don't know what happened."
Welsh, on the job since 1986, earned $147,607.43 in 2010, including base salary and overtime, according to county payroll records. He is assigned to the police department's records bureau, which helps handle gun-permit requests, processes prisoners and tests suspected drunken drivers.
He did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
In 1997, Welsh was given a Top Cop award, a precinct-level honor bestowed upon police officers for exemplary work.
He got the award for helping to restrain a drunken man in East Rockaway who had a gun and was threatening to kill himself and his wife.