PROVIDENCE — A suspended Rhode Island police chief was found guilty Tuesday of stealing $714 from a stripper’s pocketbook, following a chase in Pawtucket as the remnants of Hurricane Irene hit the region, and of urging another officer to take the money and spend it in Las Vegas.
Colonel John Whiting of the North Providence police was convicted of larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen goods by Providence County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini for taking the money on Aug. 28.
Whiting, 58, did not dispute that he took the money, but said it was not to steal it. Instead, he said he seized it as evidence.
Prosecutor Mark Trovato said during final arguments Tuesday that Whiting took the money because he was upset and felt disrespected after the occupants of the stripper’s sport utility vehicle made a rude gesture at him, then led him on a chase through storm-soaked streets.
‘‘He took it out of anger, and, I would submit, he took it out of arrogance,’’ Trovato told the judge. ‘‘He’s a chief, and they’re a carload of punks.’’
Whiting did not comment, but his lawyer, John Harwood, said he was disappointed and would consider an appeal.
Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 14.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, a former Pawtucket police officer, said in a statement that it was disheartening that Whiting’s career, one he called exemplary until Aug. 28, was marred by a criminal act.