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A civilian employee of the Salinas Police Department was arrested Thursday on suspicion of stealing money he collected from fines on impounded cars, according to police. Salinas police arrested Joseph Castro, a 32-year-old community service officer who had worked at the police department for six years, after conducting a several-months-long investigation.
Police said the investigation began after they were tipped off to the possibility that Castro was embezzling money by a complaint made by someone outside the police department. Castro has worked at the front desk of the police department for the past four years, where among other things, he handled the release of impounded cars and collected related fees, police said.
When investigators took a close look at Castro, they found that there were several thousand dollars missing from the money that should have been collected by the police department in impounded car fees, police said. Police said they are currently undertaking an extensive audit of the fees collected for impounded vehicles. After being arrested, Castro was placed on administrative leave and booked into the Monterey County Jail on suspicion of embezzlement of public funds, falsifying public documents, forging public documents and grand theft.
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