Former Huntington Beach PD investigator accused of stealing drugs from a suspect’s vehicle, driving under the influence

He stole drugs from a suspect's vehicle and drove a police vehicle under the influence of the stolen drug

December 22, 2020

The Orange County District Attorney's Office has charged a former Huntington Beach Police Department crime scene investigator with three misdemeanors related to an alleged January incident in which investigators say he stole drugs from a suspect's vehicle and drove a police vehicle under the influence of the stolen drug.

Sean Patrick Lotts, 53, was charged with misdemeanor counts of embezzlement by a public official, seizing property under the color of authority and driving under the influence, the DA's office said Tuesday in a news release.

Lotts is alleged to have committed these offenses on Jan. 23 when he was assigned to photograph a vehicle belonging to an attempted murder suspect while working as a crime scene investigator for the Police Department. He is accused of taking photos of several pills of Flualprazolam, described as a designer drug, found in the vehicle and ingesting at least one of the pills, the DA's office said.

The DA's office also alleges Lotts drove a Huntington Beach Police Ford Explorer to his home while under the influence of the drug. Lotts was a civilian employee for the Police Department and not a sworn officer, according to Lt. Brian Smith, spokesman for the Police Department.

Lotts resigned from the Police Department in lieu of termination, the DA's office said.

The Huntington Beach Police Department declined to make any additional comments regarding the case.

"I am disappointed and angered by this conduct. As the elected District Attorney, it is my responsibility to prosecute corrupt police officers and law enforcement personnel," said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. "The public has an expectation that law enforcement employees – whether they are sworn or civilian – will conduct themselves in a way that is in accordance with the laws they are tasked with enforcing.

Spitzer also said: "It is ludicrous that someone processing a crime scene would even think of – much less act on – stealing evidence from a crime scene and then using that evidence for their own recreational purposes."

Lotts is scheduled to be arraigned on April 7 in Westminster in. He faces a maximum sentence of two years in the Orange County Jail if convicted on all charges, the DA's office said.

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