LAPD Chief: More Cadets Were Aware Of Squad Car, Equipment Thefts

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — More juvenile cadets than the seven already arrested for their roles in stealing three police cars may have had knowledge or involvement in the scheme, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

“We have found in our investigation a handful of cadets that may have had some knowledge or association with the group already arrested that could cause a reaction by our department — either a criminal investigation or removal from the program or a diversion,” Beck told the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners.

The department is reviewing its cadet program in the wake of the arrests of the seven cadets for their alleged involvement in the theft of three squad cars, which were used in two high-speed chases and crashes on June 14.

The cadet investigation blew up into an outright scandal when Beck last Thursday personally arrested an officer for allegedly having a sexual relationship with one of the seven accused cadets, a 15-year-old girl.

Officer Robert Cain, 31, a 10-year LAPD veteran, was taken into custody at the 77th Street Division station, where he is assigned. More than 100 weapons were subsequently discovered at Cain’s residence by the LAPD, and Beck told the commissioners that some of the guns are not legal to own in California.

“We’re working with the ATF and charges relative to those issues will be filed with the district attorney as appropriate and when appropriate,” Beck said.

Beck also told the commissioners that the investigation had not “so far” led to any other full-time employees with knowledge of — or involvement in –the car thefts.

Beck, while continuing to express support for the program, has instituted a “top-to-bottom” review.

LAPD Inspector General Alex Bustamante, at the request of the commission, will also be reviewing the program, while City Councilman Mitchell Englander has introduced a council motion calling for a full review of all LAPD youth programs and said an independent investigation may be needed.

Matt Johnson, president of the commission, expressed support for the cadet program.

“In the two years I’ve been on the commission, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with some of the cadets, and these are good kids who are in the program for the right reasons and who are getting a lot of great skills — leadership skills, character skills — out of the program,” Johnson said.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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