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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Deputies won't collect car fees

October 24, 2008|Richard Winton

Sheriff Lee Baca said an investigation into allegations that a sergeant stole more than $400,000 in car impound fees has prompted a review of the way his department handles such transactions for the dozens of cities it patrols.

Baca said he plans to have the towing operators collect the administrative fees directly from motorists, rather than involving sheriff's officials.

"I don't see the need for the department to be a cashier," he said. "The system has to be tightened."

Sheriff's officials initiated the review after La Puente officials reported a significant shortfall in the fees that were supposed to have been collected by the Sheriff's Department, authorities said.

The sergeant retired from the department in May, shortly after he was placed on leave as a result of the investigation, authorities confirmed this week. He could not be reached for comment. No charges have been filed.

-- Richard Winton

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