Three California police officers have been charged with petty theft for allegedly stealing and eating cookies and protein bars last year during a raid on an allegedly illegal marijuana dispensary, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
One of the officers was also charged with vandalism for allegedly damaging five surveillance cameras at the dispensary “by banging and smashing the camera lenses,” the DA’s office added in a Monday news release.
If convicted of petty theft, Santa Ana officers Jorge Arroyo, 32 and Nicole Lynn Quijas, 37, face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, the DA’s office said, adding that Officer Brandon Matthew Sontag, 31, faces up to 18 months in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted of petty theft and the additional misdemeanor vandalism count.
The charges filed against the officers Monday stem from a May 26, 2015, police raid of Sky High Holistic, which was allegedly “operating without proper permits to sell medical marijuana” at the time, according to the DA’s office.
Though police “legally disabled 16 surveillance cameras” during the “legal search” of the dispensary, a “hidden 4-camera system” recorded what happened during the raid, the DA said.
Sontag, Quijas and Arroyo allegedly entered the dispensary’s break room and took snacks, “including Detour protein bars and Mrs. Thinsters cookies,” the DA’s office said.
The three officers ate the food, shared the protein bars with other police personnel and took extra cookies before leaving, the DA’s office added.
In addition to eating the stolen snacks, Sontag also damaged “five of the previously disabled surveillance cameras” by “banging and smashing the camera lenses,” the DA’s office said. Each camera is valued between $80 and $100, the DA’s office added.
The attorney for the pot shop last year released the footage recorded by the hidden four-camera system, which appeared to show officers joking about kicking a 54-year-old legally blind woman missing one leg “in her f****** nub.”
The pot shop’s attorney, Matthew Pappas, told Los Angeles ABC station KABC-TV last year that he believed the officers were eating marijuana edibles.
But the DA’s office said Monday that there was “no evidence that any SAPD personnel consumed any edible marijuana items available at the dispensary.”
Pappas told KABC Monday he still stands by his original allegations that the officers ate marijuana edibles. He also said the charges were an appropriate step and showed officials were willing to hold officers accountable for their alleged actions.
Pappas did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests today for additional comment.
Arroyoa, Quijas and Sontag have been placed on paid administrative leave by the Santa Ana Police Department Chief, public information officer Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told ABC News today.
The three officers’ arraignment has been scheduled for April 11, according to online court records. It was not immediately clear whether they have obtained lawyers or entered pleas in response to the charges against them.
The media relations department for the Superior Court of Orange County did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional information.