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2 Denver officers arrested, accused of stealing thousands from private employer

Denver Police
Posted at 12:25 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 17:15:40-04

DENVER — Two Denver police officers were arrested on felony theft charges following accusations the father and son stole thousands of dollars in unearned wages in off-duty work with a private employer.

Officers Michael Pineda, 50, and Santana Pineda, 26, were taken into custody Tuesday morning following an internal affairs investigation that began on April 21, 2022.

According to an affidavit, the father and son worked as off-duty security officers for a retail store in the 7200 block of East 36th Avenue in Denver from at least Feb. 28 of this year.

The two allegedly falsified their timecards and submitted hours to the private employer that were not worked.

Pineda, Michael.jpeg
Michael Pineda

Michael Pineda is accused of stealing $5,070 from the private employer by allegedly putting down 108 hours but only working 51.67 hours, according to the affidavit.

Santana Pineda is accused of stealing $3,751 from the same private employer by allegedly putting down 71 hours but only working 29.32 hours, according to the affidavit.

The investigation began after a DPD sergeant went to the retail location on April 15, 2022, to talk to officer Santana Pineda who was scheduled to be there, but apparently could not be located, the affidavit said.

During the investigation, officers with DPD internal affairs department looked at surveillance video from the retail location the two officers worked to confirm the alleged discrepancies on their timecards.

Pineda, Santana.jpeg
Santana Pineda

Michael Pineda joined DPD in 2004, and Santana Pineda joined DPD in 2019 -- both officers are assigned to the DPD Patrol Division, according to a release from the department.

They were placed on paid administrative leave on July 11, and they were put on unpaid leave after charges were filed on Tuesday.

The department released the following statement in the release:

“The Denver Police Department takes seriously any allegation of misconduct by officers, whether the complaint is initiated internally or externally, and has a robust disciplinary process which includes the Denver Department of Safety and the Office of the Independent monitor, a civilian oversight agency. When the evidence obtained through an Internal Affairs investigation indicates a possible law violation, such as in this case, the findings are presented to the Denver District Attorney’s Office for a determination as to whether or not criminal charges are appropriate.”

If the two officers are found guilty, they will no longer be eligible to work as law enforcement officers in Colorado.

Editor's Note: The original version of this story did not include the information that the officers were placed on unpaid leave after they were charged.