I was in line at Starbucks this morning in Menlo Park, and spied the above headline in a local paper called the "Daily Post". My curiosity was piqued, so I read the story, which I quote herein:
- Daily Post, Thursday June 5, 2008
"Police officer going to jail for stealing golf clubs while on duty"
by Richard Cole, Daily Post Staff Writer
A former Palo Alto and Atherton police officer who sold stolen golf clubs--and may have taken them himself while on duty--pleaded no contest yesterday to a felony count that will send him to jail.
Clark Yee, 29, was forced to quit the Atherton police force immediately when the crime was discovered, said San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaff.
"Chief Robert Brennan and the entire Atherton Police Department were very cooperative in the case," the prosecutor said.
The 14 golf clubs were stolen last November from an unlocked vehicle in an Atherton driveway--and Yee himself took the report.
"Some weeks later, the victim goes up to the South San Francisco Golf Mart, and decides to look at the used clubs," Wagstaff said. "Then he recognized that some of the clubs were his."
So the victim called Atherton police to alert them--and once again, Yee took the report. This time, however, a detective took over the case.
The detective went to Golf Mart and asked to see the security videos. On the video for Nov. 19, the detective spotted a familiar face.
"The person who brought in the clubs and sold them? Officer Yee," said Wagstaff.
Yee was immediately forced to quit, and Atherton police handed the case over to the District Attorney's office.
When confronted by investigators, Yee told a dubious story about how he got the clubs.
"His story was, 'Yeah, I did sell those clubs. You mean those were the stolen ones? I bought them on Ebay from a guy named Omar'," said Wagstaff.
He claimed the transaction was done on his home computer, which investigators immediately seized. They found no record of an Ebay sale or communication with someone named Omar.
"Obviously we have our suspicions about how he obtained the clubs, but we couldn't prove it," said Wagstaff, "It's very easy for someone in uniform to go onto someone's property.