The man was one of four professional models to be used in a series of posters aimed at attracting new talent to the police force. The pictures were on display in train stations and underground stations across the northern German city and showed the suspected thief in full police uniform.
However, a passer-by soon recognised the man he believes stole money from him in August 2011, the Hamburger Abendblatt reported on Sunday.
The accused, whose name has not been released, denies all charges against him.
Hamburg police spokesman Mirko Streiber told the paper that the posters are now “being scrapped and the search for a new model is underway.”
Streiber added that “the sum of money that was allegedly stolen is believed to be relatively low.”
The Hamburg police stressed they had no indication the man was potentially a petty criminal before he was hired for the recruitment campaign.