Long Beach officer charged with stealing weapons

Los Angeles Times, latimes.com
BYLINE: Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
Link to Article

Long Beach, CA

The veteran police officer allegedly stole four guns that had been turned over to the department by a local business, prosecutors said. He has pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen felony counts.

Prosecutors charged a veteran Long Beach police officer with more than a dozen felony counts for allegedly stealing weapons that had been turned over to the department by a local business, authorities said Monday.

Damian Ramos, 32, pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges, including four counts each of grand theft of personal property, grand theft of a firearm and embezzlement by a police officer, as well as one count of possession of an assault weapon.

"Upon learning of the potential misconduct by one of our own, we took swift action to ensure that the investigation was handled thoroughly," Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said in a statement. "It is our responsibility to ensure the public's trust within our Police Department, and anyone who compromises the integrity of this organization will be dealt with immediately."

If convicted on all counts, Ramos faces a maximum of more than eight years in state prison. Ramos, who has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of his criminal case, had his bail set at $100,000. His preliminary hearing was set for Aug. 23.

Authorities allege that Ramos took the weapons between Aug. 2 and Aug. 5. According to police officials, he handled guns that had been turned over to the department by a Long Beach business.

But police officials later found that the number of weapons taken from the business did not match those catalogued in evidence.

Ramos took four firearms that were supposed to be booked as property, prosecutors said. The department has recovered one, but the other three are still missing, prosecutors said.

Investigators quickly began focusing on Ramos and found evidence connecting him to the guns after serving search warrants at his work and home, police said. He is currently being held at Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail.

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