Former Alexandria police chief arrested, faces charges for alleged financial crimes

The former police chief of Alexandria was arrested Friday for alleged financial crimes.

According to a news release, Richard Wyffels, 57, was taken into custody by agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Wyffels has been charged with felony theft by swindle. Court records alleged Wyffels used a city credit card and ran up thousands of dollars in charges for personal use.

Wyffels retired as police chief on Sept. 30, 2020, records show.

According to the criminal complaint, between December 2014 and July 2020, Wyffels allegedly purchased numerous items no longer in the possesion of the Alexandria Police Department, including “computers, snow shovels, stamps, external hard drives, tow ropes, light bulbs, computer software, Star Tribune subscription, cell phones, cell phone services, Nest smoke/carbon monoxide sensor, lawn care tools, ethernet cables, headphones, Schlage door handles, Nest surveillance cameras, televisions, extension cords, ladders, step stools, 25 driveway markers, HDMI cables, electrical dimmer switches, marine battery, folding tables, label maker, Wi-Fi equipment, sprinkler equipment, Stihl lawn care equipment, printer ink/supplies, container of chemical spray, an automotive battery, hoses, hose nozzles, laminator, computer anti-virus subscriptions, rodent control products, computer graphics card, container of acetone, pair of chemical gloves, charging cords, an Apple iPad, mops, hardwood floor chair mat, SSD cards, power outlets, spotting scope, and significant number of fuel purchases that exceeded the maximum number of gallons Defendant’s squad car.”

“In total, the BCA located $65,724.04 in purchases completed by Defendant of items missing from the Police Department,” the complaint states.

It’s unclear where every purchase currently is, but investigators recovered some items from Wyffels while others were allegedly sold, court records show.

In one instance, it’s alleged Wyffels sold a Swarovski Spotting Scope. The complaint says a review of Wyffels’ “financial records from PayPal,, and Wells Fargo revealed the item was sold through on 03/09/2020 for $3,710.00 after being advertised as new.”

“Records from Defendant’s PayPal account contained numerous other items he sold with descriptions that matched items Defendant purchased with his city issued credit card that were missing from the Police Department,” the complaint notes. “At least ten other items were identified totaling approximately $12,388.47.”

Wyffels was booked into Douglas County Jail, according to a BCA news release, and the investigation is ongoing.