Reporting Stacey Butler
SANTA ANA (CBS) — A police officer, who was once called a hero, was in an Orange County jail Thursday night, accused of stealing money from a police charity.
A source close to the investigation said former La Habra police officer Kirk Lotzgesell changed his address and phone number, so that police could not find him. But on Thursday afternoon, they did.
Police tracked his real estate license number, posing as buyers in Norwalk, where they took him into custody.
Lotzgesell faces one felony count of grand theft after allegedly stealing more than $60,000 from the Orange County Cop Bowl Association – a group of police volunteers who compete against each other in football to raise money for youth charities.
Lotzgesell, 43, made headlines when he was shot in the line of duty in 2005.
One year later he was let go from the department, according to prosecutors. They said that is when he volunteered as treasurer of the association, falsely claiming that he was an active duty officer on medical leave.
Sources told us that is when he got his real estate license.
The 15-year police veteran used his position as the association’s treasurer to allegedly write checks to himself and access their ATM account stealing $60,000, according to the district attorney.
Lotzgesell’s arrest was not his first brush with the law. According to court records, he had been charged with domestic battery, but pleaded the matter down to a disturbing the peace charge. The domestic battery charge was dismissed six months later.
The Orange County Cop Bowl Association discovered the theft when the IRS questioned it about unfiled tax returns.
We tried to speak with several members of the board. They were hesitant to talk, but they did release a statement that saying that they “have faith in the judicial process and justice will prevail.”
Lotzgesell if convicted faces up to three years in prison.