UPDATED: Ex-Arcadia cop accused of embezzling more than $50,000 from police officer’s association

A former Arcadia police officer and police officer’s association treasurer surrendered Wednesday to face accusations of embezzling more than $50,000 from the union to buy items including motorcycle accessories and cigars, authorities said.
Christian Eric Blesch, 36, pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court to a felony charge of grand theft by embezzlement, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. He turned himself in prior to the hearing after an ongoing investigation by the District Attorney’s Office Justice System Integrity Division resulted in the generation of an arrest warrant Sept. 24.
“The warrant was the result of an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that Blesch, a 6-year employee of the department, feloniously stole money from the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association over a period of several months,” Arcadia police Capt. Paul Foley said.
“Blesch, who was elected in January 2011 to serve as treasurer for the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association, allegedly used the association’s credit card to purchase parts and accessories for his personal motorcycles, as well as personal items such as clothing , exercise equipment, shaving accessories and cigars,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “Blesch allegedly paid the monthly credit card bills via check from the association’s bank account.”
He also allegedly used the association’s money to put a down payment on a motorcycle, officials said.
Blesch resigned from the department last month, the same day the warrant was issued for his arrest, according to police and district attorney’s officials.
He, along with another Arcadia police officer, were placed on administrative leave in March after the allegations came to light, Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie said at the time.
The investigation into the second Arcadia police officer remained “in review,” Robison said.
The second officer remained on paid administrative leave Wednesday as the investigation continued, Arcadia police Lt. Mike Castro said.
Prosecutors had not yet determined whether to file charges against him, Robison said.
Blesch’s defense attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Before the case could move forward, the POA elected to prosecute Blesch by majority vote, Foley said.
“We’re just being patient and working with the D.A.’s office to make sure this gets resolved, the captain said.
“We just want to move on from here, and remember there’s a lot of good men and women who work at our police department,” he added.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to three years behind bars, officials added.
Blesch, who was released from custody on $45,000 bail after his court appearance Wednesday, was scheduled to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 8 for a preliminary hearing setting.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact district attorney’s Bureau of Investigations at 213-974-3528.

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