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4 more Los Angeles youth police cadets arrested in scandal

21 Juin 2017

Four more police cadets have been arrested in a widening probe that was launched last week after three police cruisers, stun guns and radios were stolen from a police station, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear when the four additional cadets were arrested.

Because they are juveniles, the LAPD has not released their names.

Beck said in addition to stealing the patrol cars, authorities believe the teens "may have been impersonating" officers.

"We are pressing forward with this to make sure that we find everybody involved and take the appropriate steps", Beck told commissioners.

Matt Johnson, the president of the commission, also expressed his support for the program, which he called "valuable", and said he doesn't want to "throw the baby out with the bath water". "There was no enforcement action that we have discerned", said Beck.

An LAPD supervisor doing inventory discovered that a squad vehicle was missing from the 77th Street station on Wednesday, and the investigation quickly identified a female cadet caught on camera driving it off the lot, Beck said last week.

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Three of the teenage cadets were taken into custody last Wednesday after leading officers on wild pursuits around the city in two of the stolen police vehicles that both ended in crashes.

Officers respond to the scene where a stolen police cruiser crashed in South-Central L.A. on June 14, 2017.

Not only did the trio steal the vehicles, but also a bulletproof vest, two tasers and police radios.

Two of the accused cadets were assigned to the 77th Street Division and the third to the Pacific Division, said Josh Rubenstein, LAPD public information director. They drove the three cars out of a police station parking lot, and the cadets had one of the vehicles for at least two weeks, the chief said.

The LAPD has more than 1,800 black-and-white squad vehicles but all are not used daily. After conducting dozens of interviews over the weekend, investigators made the arrests in connection with the "taking, operating and joyriding" of police vehicles, according to Beck.

The move is part of a "top-to-bottom" review of the citywide cadet program following revelations that besides the theft of three cruisers, the cadets may have also stolen other police equipment and posed as sworn officers.

4 more Los Angeles youth police cadets arrested in scandal