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Former LAPD officer charged for stealing credit cards from people entering DTLA detention center

A former Los Angeles Police Department officer has been charged with stealing debit and credit cards from people entering a detention center in downtown Los Angeles. 

Edmond Babaians, 43, was charged with three felony counts and one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of access cards for taking the bank cards from people whose belongings were being searched at the Metropolitan Detention Center, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. 

He is scheduled for arraignment on Friday. 

Babaians, a 16-year-old veteran of the department, was originally arrested in Aug. 2023 following an investigation from the department's Internal Affairs Division. 

Prosecutors say that the former officer had been working at the detention center since Nov. 18, where his duties included searching the personal belongings of people visiting inmates at the facility. They say that Babaians stole from at least four people passing through the security checkpoint, using their credit and debit cards to make several purchases. 

If convicted of all charges, Babaians faces up to five years and four months in jail, the District Attorney's Office said. 

When the arrest was announced last year, LAPD officials noted that the investigation was launched after a member of the public contacted them to report a missing card and unauthorized transactions after their visit to the facility. 

The victim was able to obtain photos of the person who had made the purchases with their card at a home improvement store and forwarded them to investigators, leading them to identify the person as Babaians. 

"The allegations of an officer breaking public trust are extremely troubling and there must be accountability," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said at the time. 

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass also addressed the issue in a statement, which read: "Our police officers must be held accountable to the highest standard. I want to acknowledge and thank Chief Moore and LAPD leadership for swiftly taking action on this serious matter. The integrity of our police department is of the utmost importance and we must continue to act with transparency and accountability to build trust with all Angelenos."

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