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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | SANTA PAULA

Ex-Reserve Officer Gets Year in Jail

July 11, 1998|MIGUEL BUSTILLO

A former reserve Santa Paula police officer was sentenced Friday to a year in jail and 72 months' probation after being convicted of armed robbery in May.

Michael S. Fagan of Simi Valley had faced up to five years in prison for holding up the Kmart store on Faulkner Road, where he also worked as an undercover security guard.

Judge Rebecca Riley also ordered Fagan to pay Kmart $77,460 in restitution.

At the time he was arrested in 1996, Fagan was a reserve officer in Santa Paula, working on the department's high-risk entry team, which is similar to a SWAT team.

Authorities said he hid in the Kmart until midnight, then threatened two female employees with a gun before taking several bags of money. Fagan, 27, argued his innocence from the outset.

Last year a jury deadlocked on the armed robbery charge and acquitted Fagan of threatening a witness. He was only charged with robbery in the retrial.

Defense attorney Tim Quinn said his client was grateful to avoid a stiffer sentence, but continues to insist he was wrongly accused.

"He has always maintained his innocence," Quinn said. "He accepts that he is convicted, and he is thankful that he is not going to do time in prison.

"As a former reserve officer before, he thought the system always works," Quinn added. "Now, he doesn't feel that is always the case."

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