Former Officer Convicted Of Embezzling Money From Slain Officers’ Fund Arrested Again For Theft

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Skeeter Manos
Skeeter Manos

In the aftermath of one of the worst shootings of police officers in Washington in decades–where four Lakewood officers were gunned down as they dined at local coffee shop–citizens expressed their grief and horror for such a tragic and senseless act. The Lakewood Police Independent Guild formed a memorial fund for the benefit of widows, husbands, children, and other family members. Donations poured in from within the state and elsewhere. It was a remarkable showing of solidarity and compassion towards a grieving family of law enforcement officers and their friends.

Yet to the disgust of everyone, Skeeter Manos, one of Lakewood’s own officers, took advantage of their generosity and bilked these families out of $112,000.00. He also stole $47,000.00 from the guild’s funds in his capacity as treasurer.

To take money after the slaying of his brother and sister officers is just about as low as you can get. As a further act of his depravity, he burned through these families’ money by purchasing luxuries such as expensive vacations and other frivolous toys.

Manos later pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court and was consequently sentenced to two years of a potential twenty year maximum. Several months ago, he was unfortunately released.

In a testament to the old parable “There is no honor among thieves” he again is in trouble with the law. This time, he is alleged to have stolen from a new employer who wanted “to give him a second chance.”


The unfortunate events for Lakewood transpired on November 29, 2009 when Sergeant Mark Renninger, Officer Tina Griswold, Officer Greg Richards and Officer Ronald Owens were murdered in an ambush style attack while they sat at a Parkland coffee shop.

Each of the officers were seated at a table waiting for their order when the suspect entered carrying a 9 mm handgun and shot officer Griswold, killing her instantly. He then shot and killed Sgt. Renninger. After the suspect’s pistol jammed he drew a second weapon then shot and killed Officer Owens. In an attempt to subdue the suspect, Officer Richards shot the suspect once in the torso however the suspect was able to disarm the officer and murdered him. After a two-day manhunt the suspect was aired out by a Seattle police officer.

Mark Renninger
Mark Renninger
Tina Griswold
Tina Griswold
Gregory Richards
Gregory Richards
Ronald Owens II
Ronald Owens II

The outpouring of support from the community was tremendous. Police officers, Sheriff’s deputies, State patrol, and others from Canada and other nations offered their deep condolences and attended a very large memorial for the officers killed. The community rallied to support victims’ families.

For myself, a friend of mine was one of Lakewood’s officers. A few days after the murders I drove to Lakewood and we went to the police department to offer our support. Outside the headquarters a large citizen’s memorial stood at the corner with countless numbers of flowers and some signs thanking these officers for their services and showing their great sadness for their tragic demise. Inside about a half-dozen or more officers were sifting through and sorting the checks, cash and other letters donated to the memorial fund the guild set up earlier for the benefit the families. I can say it was very humbling and welcoming to see the great magnitude of donations that had filtered in so quickly from the community. My family was also one of the contributors as were others I asked to support the cause. A month later we suffered our own loss when one of my coworkers also died in the line of duty.

When I later received word that one of Lakewood’s own officers stole from the memorial fund, you can imagine the outrage that I felt. For one of us to steal from our own brothers and sisters and their families for me is about as low as a person can get in the profession and whatever a judge would later sentence Skeeter Manos to it would be too light in my view.

Manos was convicted of wire fraud and served two years in prison.

After his release, Manos turned to construction to support himself. It wasn’t long before his nefarious ways got the best of him and now he is allegedly involved in stealing more money; this time from his new employer.

In light of the possibility of charges being levied against him, Manos attempted to pathetically take the high road by claiming he saw homeowners being billed for work that had not been performed and that they were overcharged for supplies, proffering that it was actually his employer that was stealing from the customers. He later turned himself in to the police but first contacted a Seattle news broadcaster to offer his excuse for what happened. His employer, Integrated Home Construction, believes otherwise and accused him of using company funds for his own benefit.

Business Owner Carolyn Valdeman lamented how she tried to offer Manos another opportunity to redeem himself but it was not going to happen.

“We believe in second chances I like the idea of hiring people who want to change.”

During his interview with the news medium, Manos gave what I considered to be a completely non-credible statement which I believe accurately reflects upon content of his character.

“…and for somebody to essentially take what’s not given to them, you know, I did that. I will regret that for the rest of my life. And if I can stop someone else from having that happen to them then I’m going to do that.”

Manos claims that he will not receive fair treatment from the police and this was the reason he decided to turn himself in.

” I do have a reputation with them. I was a former police officer. I violated my oath of office. My victims are police officers.”

He claims that he will spend the rest of his life apologizing for his actions.  Cry me a river.  He should have thought of that before he stole from widows and children of his own department.  He had the opportunity, but it is apparent he will not change.  Your apology, Skeeter, is just words: your actions are telling.

As you can imagine, I don’t believe one word of what Mr. Manos says. His statements are typical of a sociopathic thief who chooses to blame the victim for his crimes, and to claim that he is offering some form of justice on behalf of the citizens. He was a poor excuse for an officer, and an even worse excuse for a man. It is my sincere hope that if convicted Skeeter Manos will suffer a couple of decades behind bars where he belongs.

In the meantime I ask those reading this article to take a long look at the picture I have furnished of Mr. Manos. Remember his face and afford him no courtesy, respect, trust, or anything that might be of benefit to him no matter how small. He is an unworthy individual and he deserves none of society’s blessings.

There are many forms of justice Skeeter. It’s time for you to receive yours.

By Darren Smith



The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

35 thoughts on “Former Officer Convicted Of Embezzling Money From Slain Officers’ Fund Arrested Again For Theft”

  1. Does he have PTSD? If so did he serve? If he served was he in Military Police?
    Worst guys to hire as cops are military police with PTSD.

  2. Okay, question one. Do they still give a psych test before you become a cop and how did this guy pass it.

  3. Darren, from what you’ve written here, it’s clear that you feel complete and utter contempt for this guy. And somehow, it just doesn’t feel like enough. What he did is absolutely outrageous. What I feel when I see what he’s done makes my soul go cold.

  4. Karen

    Two things are certain. Firstly this mutt is a predator. Secondly he is a sociopath. It is one thing to be an opportunistic criminal, someone that grabs a purse in a parking lot, etc. It is another thing to be a police officer stealing from the citizenry. It is quite another thing to do what this nut case did, steal from this fund, while he was entrusted to guard it, given the circumstances. He justifies it somehow as with the pretzel logic pointing out his employer’s ‘overcharging’ for his embezzling. Contractors ‘mark up materials’, round off their time to the outside, and charge more for their workers than they pay them. This goes with the industry as this is how they make money to cover the situations when they lose money. This is the way of the business world. One can shop around. This guy Manos is in a different category. He seems to be the type that could justify doing anything. That’s the spooky part. The society to which he poses a danger should perhaps study this guy, in a medical way, under guard, for a good ten years. That would go some way in terms of restitution. Who knows he might even be able to be repaired. He should surely contribute to society’s understanding of this danger.

  5. Wellll, let’s see, w/o reiterating the LTWS’s* past, it’s obvious that we have a very intelligent white male who has been severely damaged by society. On its face: white=powerful and privedged, therefore he can’t help but use his impaired societal skills to defraud. Intelligent and a product of current educational system= Is incapable of seeing a defined moral law as everything is situational.

    So just based on these two (add your own) we have an impaired male—oops forgot to list this one—who is incapable of compliance to community standards, which are obviously arbitrary.

    Verdict=not guilty by reason of being incapacitated by genetic and societal influences. Everybody else is guilty.

    *”LTWS” lower than whale s _ _t

  6. Karen,
    Our prison system is one of the worst, if not THE worst in the developed world. We spend money on prisons instead of schools and families, we have done NOTHING to understand and fix anything. We’re still operating in some Puritan state of punishment that has never worked. Now we have the school to prison pipeline running, the payoffs of judges to keep the for-profit prisons full, and the criminalization of fine-collection that has given new life to debtors prison.

    While I agree that early release programs are not always well thought out or enacted, the main reason behind them is prison overcrowding in the first place. We have very well developed war and prison machines, and not much else.

  7. Thanks for sharing this, Darren. I don’t blame you for being so harsh on this fellow. If he’s found guilty, I think he needs to read up on far-north bushcraft, because the Brooks Range is the only place he should get a decent reception once he’s released.
    I’d thought about jumping into the issue of sentencing laws for economic crimes versus violent crimes, but I guess that’ll have to wait for another day.

  8. Isaac:

    “The word sociopath is the key to understanding this mutt. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to say that everyone is sociopathic to some degree if only contrasted against the ideal perspective(s) that mankind has surfaced in its religions and other sacred texts. That is to say we are all capable of placing ourselves in front of everything or anything else.”

    I clearly recall reading a study on sociopaths in college. It involved measuring the blink reflex, which is difficult to control, especially when you don’t know that’s the studied parameter. They studied prison inmates by showing them images that were either generally considered happy and peaceful, such as families on a picnic, or upsetting and disturbing, such as photos of a concentration camp, vivisection, or torture.

    Normal people, including those in prison for murder, blinked slower when viewing the happy pictures, and quicker when viewing the disturbing pictures, indicating distress. Sociopaths blinked faster when viewing the happy pictures, and slower when viewing the disturbing pictures, indicating pleasure or calm.

    There are other markers for sociopathy, including brain scans indicating underdeveloped areas of the brain involved in empathy. Other markers are an intense need for recognition or to be the center of attention, and a complete or near total lack of empathy or connectedness to people. Many sociopaths do not commit murder, but have learned to function in society. They are just generally regarded as “cold” and unfeeling people who were raised not to break major laws, such as murder.

    I completely agree with you that this person has proven to be detrimental to society and uninterested in change. It would be to our benefit to keep him locked up, but if they didn’t do it for his previous crime, I doubt they will do so for stealing this time.

  9. PhillyT:

    Although I did greatly enjoy “blaming Bernie”, the reality is that in CA, releasing thousands of prisoners early, and refusing to prosecute others, has led to exponential increases in crimes, including murder.

    I don’t care if it’s Bernie, Hillary, or the ghost of Ronald Reagan. No bueno.

    The only early release I would support is (thank you Bernie) for minor pot offenses, since pot is now essentially legal.

  10. There is an old saying that your character is your fate.

    That appears to be true in Manos’ case.

    What a heartbreaking crime that took those 4 officers’ lives, and an intense betrayal that stole from their widows and children. I assume that the money he stole and spent was not able to be replaced or recovered. You have to be seriously lacking in character and conscience to do such a despicable act.

    If Skeeter Manos got out in 2 year after stealing from slain cops’ widows and kids, I assume he’ll be out soon for stealing from a construction company, and possibly its customers. Darren is doing a public service by getting the word out to any potential victims who may cross this thief’s path. This also illustrates that they do not necessarily throw the book at criminals if their victims are cops.

    This also is a reminder of the risk that employers take when they hire felons. On the one hand, one would want people who have changed to have a second chance. But if you, as a business owner, hire a felon and he or she subsequently victimizes your customers, you can be liable and/or go out of business. When people engage in felonies, it’s not just the jail sentence they have to content with. It’s a lifetime hit to their employability. There are some (ahem, California) who try to enact laws that prevent employers from conducting a background check in an effort to “be fair” to criminals. But that’s not fair to consumers or employers, either.

    It also disturbs me how some media sources and activists paint cops as thugs, racists, and bullies, while simultaneously objecting to their own list of stereotypes. Focus your ire on the bad apples that need to be removed from the police force. For the rest of them, they put their lives in danger every single day to protect and serve perfect strangers.

  11. This is CLEARLY Bernie Sanders’ fault! Because this is TOTALLY like sentencing non-violent drug offenders to mandatory life sentences for pot. It’s the same thing! See? Rockefeller Drug Laws! TriLateral Commission! One World Order! Just because we have more people in prison than anyone doesn’t mean we can’t have more! Prisons are good for the economy! And since Bernie hates the economy and wants to bring it down because that’s what democratic socialists do I mean look at all the democratic socialists countries and how totally they are failing with their free college and putting bankers in jail and better health care than we’ve ever had and stuff and so if we start letting non-violent druggies out of jail it’s just a hop skip and jump before we let crooked cops out of jail and the whole system collapses into chaos and Sanders just wants to finish off what Obama started which is the ruination of America!


  12. The word sociopath is the key to understanding this mutt. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to say that everyone is sociopathic to some degree if only contrasted against the ideal perspective(s) that mankind has surfaced in its religions and other sacred texts. That is to say we are all capable of placing ourselves in front of everything or anything else.

    However, mental conditions are measured by the degree of seriousness of the actions of the person in question. The actions of this mutt, to my mind, would make him an extremely dangerous person. Two years in jail seems like he skated. An appropriate sentence would have been ten years before parole options of a fifteen year sentence.

    What he did the first time is so abhorrent as to illustrate that he is capable of convincing himself that he should be placed before any and every thing in situations that have little to no boundaries.

    The mutt is broken. He needs an extremely strong smack from society. His logic is entirely sociopathic. What would it take for him to take it to the next stage where he takes lives.

  13. Mr. Manos has been caught twice demonstrating his sociopathic tendencies.

    Imagine how many times he has committed crimes and not been caught.

    Police officers are given the benefit of the doubt in conflicting testimony, have their sworn statements accepted at face value and their reports are accepted as the basis for charging. Many people go to jail almost exclusively on the sworn statements of police officers.

    Every case that Mr. Manos testified in and every one of his arrests need to be scrutinized for perjury. Defense lawyers and prosecutors have a lot of work ahead of them.

  14. You hope that he will suffer a couple of decades behind bars for stealing from his employer, a construction company? Get real. He was out of prison, on the street, after two years, and that was after he stole from the families of slain police officers–widows and orphans. He’ll end up doing another couple of years, max. Just remember, Uncle Bernie demands that we empty our prisons and refrain from unnecessarily imprisoning all of these innocent, unfairly targeted and maligned babes. We’re at fault. We’ve abused him and denied him an opportunity to rehabilitate himself. His place is in society. I say, allow him to redeem himself. Allow him to manage The Bern’s campaign finances. What could possibly go wrong? Let freedom ring!

  15. I believe in second chances as well, but not in this case. This wasn’t a youngster or someone who committed some stupid, impulsive act. Those are the situations in which a second chance is appropriate. But a police officer who embezzled from the families of murdered fellow officers? His actions were deliberate and well thought out, so it’s not surprising that he once again stole from someone who trusted him because that’s just who he is. I hope his Grandma keeps an eye on her Social Security check when he’s around!

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