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Angeles County | Community News File / South Pasadena

Police Dispatcher Charged in Embezzlement of $825

April 01, 1998

A South Pasadena Police Department senior dispatcher has been charged with embezzling money paid by drivers to get their vehicles back from the city impound yard, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Sean O'Connor, 23, surrendered to authorities last week and pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge of grand theft by embezzlement of $825, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Rosenthal.

O'Connor, who also is a reserve police officer, allegedly pocketed $275 on three occasions in March from drivers who retrieved their vehicles, Rosenthal said. The dispatcher was immediately placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

"This is tragedy for this young man," said Police Chief Mike Berkow.

Berkow said a criminal investigation was launched after a police officer noticed a car back on the streets two days after he impounded it from a suspected drunk driver. The officer became suspicious after he was unable to identify who authorized the release of the car because the entry in a written log was unreadable.

Attorney Darryl E. Mounger, who is defending O'Connor, did not return calls for comment.

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