In light of Robert Urteaga’s no contest plea to Grand Theft charges back in 1999, I got to thinking about a case that involved Walnut City Councilman Joaquin Lim back in 1997.
Lim was accused of petty theft after he allegedly left a grocery store without paying for $27 in groceries. Ultimately Lim testified in his own behalf and was acquitted in the case. Some of the original reporting is on the jump.
May 31, 1997
Guard says councilman
put items in grocery bag
By Bill Hetherman
An undercover store security officer watched Walnut Councilman Joaquin Lim place $27 worth of food and merchandise into a plastic bag before leaving a Diamond Bar supermarket last month without paying for the items, court records state.
When questioned by the officer, Lim said he was “running into money problems, I’m sorry,” according to the documents obtained Friday.
Lim has pleaded innocent to a misdemeanor petty theft charge filed affter teh April 27 incident at Albertson’s Food and Drug Store.
Lim, a business teacher at the De Vry Institute of Technology, declined comment Friday on the report, which differs from his earlier account.
On the day of the incident, he said he had received two quick pages on his beeper and pushed his grocery cart outside the front door of the store to use a public telephone. He said he had intended to pay for the food by was stopped by security guards.
Among the items found in the bag were a $5.29 bottle fo mouthwash, a $1.69 bottle of Italian salad dressing, a $3.69 package of mackerel,a 99-cent soybean cake, and a $6 box of croissants, the report states.
Sept. 03, 1997
Jurors acquit Lim of Theft
Panel didn’t think councilman intended to shoplift items
By Bill Hetherman
Joaquin Anthony Lim was acquited Tuesday by jorors who said they didn’t thik the Walnut councilman intended to steal $27 in groceries and merchandise from a Diamond Bar supermarket during an APril 24 shopping trip.
Lim, 46, folded his hands in a prayerlike position and smiled when he heard the Pomona Municipal Court jury of seven women and five men declared Lim not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of petty theft. The jury had deliberated for about an hour.
Later, outside court, the first-term councilman appeared to be almost in tears. He declined to coment, but his attorney Antonio BEstard, said Lim felt “relieved and vindicated.”
Lim testified in his own behalf.