Butte County Sheriff: Former Employee Arrested for Theft, Possession of Stolen Contraband
Kathleen Acosta booking photo
OROVILLE — The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has announced the arrest of one of their own former employees, 48-year-old Kathleen Acosta.
The arrest comes as a result of an investigation which began after a traffic stop involving a vehicle Acosta was driving, allegedly after a domestic dispute. The Oroville Police officer who’d conducted the stop discovered a gun, a small amount of methamphetamine, and prescription drugs — all sealed in official evidence packaging — in the vehicle and immediately notified the Sheriff’s Office, who promptly took over the investigation.
A subsequent search of Acosta’s residence, along with two storage units registered under her name, turned up additional stolen items from the BCSO evidence-property building, including more prescription drugs and 19 firearms slated for disposal. Investigators say none of the recovered items are evidence in any pending criminal cases, but took note that documents tracking their disposal appear to have been falsified.
Acosta originally resigned from the department in May of 2016 when faced with termination for allegedly mishandling property stored in the evidence building, violation of established procedures, and attempting to cover her tracks to avoid the attention of her new supervisor.
The matter was ultimately chalked up to a work performance issue due to insufficient evidence that anything had been stolen. Nonetheless, an independent audit and review was commissioned by the Sheriff’s Office.
The audit found nothing amiss, which investigators believe is due to Acosta’s falsification of documents showing that the items had been properly discarded. Then came the fateful traffic stop.
Acosta, who’d previously served as a sheriff’s clerk and correctional officer for 8 years, was promoted to evidence technician in 2014. The Sheriff’s Office noted that there had been nothing in her employment history which indicated she was unfit for the position.
Said Sheriff Honea in the official BCSO press release, “I am angered by the illegal misconduct of this now-former employee and disheartened to think her actions will reflect negatively upon the rest of the Sheriff’s Office employees who do great work on a daily basis.”
Acosta was arrested on January 1st and stands accused of theft and possession of stolen BCSO contraband — most notably prescription drugs and firearms — perpetrated during her tenure with the department. She was booked into the Butte County Jail on official charges of grand theft, embezzlement, and unlawful possession of prescription drugs, but posted bail on January 4th with a court date scheduled for January 27 at 8:30 AM.
Meanwhile, the investigation remains ongoing and the case has been referred to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Authorities are also requesting additional charges related to the falsification of official BCSO documents.