A former employee of the Marina, Calif., Police Department was arrested this week on suspicion of embezzlement and possession of stolen property after a self-storage unit he rented went to auction containing allegedly stolen police equipment and uniforms.
The delinquent tenant, Santos Bautista, 58, worked for seven years as a community-services officer. Marina police commander Bob Nolan said Bautista was not a sworn officer while with the department, although his job enabled him to wear a uniform and badge. The suspect was let go by the department in 2007 for disciplinary reasons, according to the source.
The two men who bought the auctioned unit in February reportedly found about 80 police uniforms as well as an assortment of police badges, batons, handcuffs, mace, radios, sirens and urine-test kits. The equipment belonged to police departments in Marina, Santa Cruz and Salinas, as well as a sheriff’s office. Firefighter clothing belonging to the Salinas Fire Department was also found.
Police needed two truckloads to haul away all the items, the source reported. Nolan said the equipment and uniforms would have value on the black market, but investigators have not determined if Bautista was selling any of the goods.
The auction was reportedly conducted by Dave Hester, a former star of the reality television show “Storage Wars.”