VIDEO: Off-Duty Officer Is Screwed After Drawing Gun On Suspected Thief

An off-duty Buena Park police officer mistakenly believed a man had shoplifted a package of Mentos.

Buena Park, CA – The Buena Park Police Department opened an internal investigation on an officer after an off-duty incident where he drew his weapon to thwart what he mistakenly believed was a shoplifting in progress.

The incident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. on March 16, when 49-year-old Jose Arreola and his wife, Jacqueline, stopped at a Chevron store while on their way to a club, The Orange County Register reported.

Arreola withdrew $60 from an ATM inside the store, then went up to the counter to purchase a package of Mentos that his wife had requested.

“How much are these?” he asked the cashier.

The man behind the counter told Arreola that the mints cost $1.19, so he began rummaging in his pocket for some cash, store surveillance video showed.

The off-duty Buena Park police officer then entered the store, and stood in line behind Arreola.

As the cashier worked on the transaction, Arreola reached across the counter, and placed the Mentos in his pocket.

“Hey, give that back,” the officer told him, as Arreola turned to face him.

“Police officer,” he said, pulling a weapon from his pocket and then pulling it out of a holster. “Put that back.”

“Whoa!” Arreola said. “I paid for it! I just paid for this!”

Arreola turned towards the cashier, with the Mentos in his hand.

“Put it back,” the officer instructed, as Arreola quickly dropped the mints on the counter.

“He tried stealing that from you,” the officer told the cashier.

“No – I just paid for it,” Arreola said.

“Get your cash and leave,” the officer replied.

Arreola complied, and began backing away from the counter.

“Did he pay for this?” the officer asked the cashier.

“Yes,” the man behind the counter replied.

“He paid for it? Are you sure?” the officer asked again.

The cashier confirmed that Arreola had purchased the mints.

“My apologies,” the officer told Arreola, who then stepped back towards the counter to pick up the Mentos.

“Thank you,” Arreola said, as he rushed out of the store.

Following the incident, Arreola filed a complaint with the Buena Park Police Department against the officer, The New York Times reported.

He said that the department subsequently offered him a settlement, but that he refused when he discovered it would only have covered his legal fees.

Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez addressed the incident in a Facebook post on Friday in an “effort to be transparent.”

“The video of the incident clearly shows our officer drawing his gun, but not pointing it, at a subject he allegedly believed was committing a theft,” Chief Sianez said in the statement. “We were aware of this incident after it occurred and we immediately began conducting an administrative investigation into the conduct of the officer involved.”

“I want you to know that after I watched the video I found it to be disturbing, as I’m sure it was to you,” he continued. “However, because there is an ongoing personnel investigation and potential litigation pending against the city, I am unable to discuss the details of our investigation.”

The chief asked for the community’s patience during the investigation.

“I can definitely assure you that our investigation will be thorough and if the officer is found to be in violation of any policies and procedures, he will be held accountable,” he said.

According to The New York Times, Chief Sianez did not respond when asked whether or not the officer had been placed on leave.

You can watch surveillance footage of the incident below:

Comments (32)
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To all of you who comment on this site but have never worn the uniform please learn what a police officer can legally do or not do before making a statement that makes you look foolish. I don't agree that this officer's response was necessarily appropriate but considering the number of cops shot or killed this year one can't be too careful anymore. In this case the officer never pointed the gun at the suspected shop lifter. He had it pointed down and no one was in danger. I've done the same thing many times on traffic stops that gave me a hinky feeling. I know some people get upset when that happens but I really don't care. I'll take my chances dealing with an IA. The lesson learned in this case is DON'T get involved in anything while you are off duty unless you absolutely have to. It's just not worth it. The last time I saw a shoplifter at K-Mart I let him walk out the door and notified store security. Their response to me was "so what"?!?! If they don't care, why should we?

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

" I'll take my chances dealing with an IA." See, John-Brown, LEO301 knows the score when it comes to IA!


Yup not all cops, except......

This is the hulkasaurus in question

Richard Kurtz
Richard Kurtz

When the "Cops" posting on here defend every crappy action done by another officer, they lose all credibility. You do not need to be a Cop to know that guy was way in the wrong. He drew his gun over a pack of Mentos. Enough said.