Former Huntington Beach police detective charged with stealing from officers’ donation fund

A former Huntington Beach police detective is accused of stealing money from fellow officers who were pooling the funds to buy a gift for a retiring colleague.

The Orange County district attorney’s office Thursday filed a charge of misdemeanor petty theft against Mario Ricci, 48, of Los Angeles, according to a news release.

Authorities allege that Ricci stole donations out of an envelope over several days in December at the Huntington Beach Police Department headquarters, where he was a detective. The district attorney’s office said he no longer works there, though it did not elaborate.

Other officers noticed that money was missing from the donation envelope Dec. 8, the district attorney’s office said. The next day, they launched an investigation and documented the denominations and serial numbers of the bills in the envelope.

Police investigators approached Ricci as he was leaving the department Dec. 15 and found he was in possession of bills that were documented as being in the envelope, authorities said.

If convicted, Ricci would face a maximum of six months in county jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned March 6.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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