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Officer in Pants Theft Case Retracts Resignation

Times Staff Writer

Newport Beach Police Capt. Richard S. Hamilton, who resigned from the force last week after he was arrested on suspicion of stealing a pair of pants, withdrew his resignation Thursday.

City Manager Robert L. Wynn said Hamilton’s letter was hand-delivered to his office Thursday morning, just one day before the 23-year police veteran’s voluntary resignation was to go in effect.

In a typed letter, Hamilton wrote: “This is to withdraw and rescind my resignation prior to its effective date and to apply for industrial medical leave, to which I am entitled, until I am able to make a rational decision about my life. When I signed the resignation, I was in an extreme state of stress and confusion.”

Wynn said the city will ask Hamilton to undergo psychiatric tests and will “await the findings of those tests before we conclude any further action.”

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Hamilton was arrested March 28 by Santa Ana police on suspicion of stealing a $20 pair of jeans from the Price Club at 3500 W. MacArthur Blvd. He was taken off duty the next day and continued to receive his salary during the department’s internal investigation of the incident.

Hamilton, who has been allowed to perform administrative duties from his Newport Beach home, could not be reached for comment.

According to city Personnel Director Duane Munson, Hamilton filed a worker’s compensation claim last year in which he says he suffered back injuries on the job. Munson said Hamilton inferred in his letter that he would either amend that claim, which was to come up for a hearing next month, or file a separate claim for alleged injuries resulting from job-related stress.

The stress claim, Munson said, “adds an element that would potentially raise the value of any settlement he might receive.”

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Wynn said the department’s internal investigation was “just about finished” when a clearly shaken Hamilton submitted his resignation on April 4.

“We concluded that the allegations against him were substantially correct, but no public announcement was made because he came in and wanted to resign his position,” Wynn said Thursday. “We didn’t wish to bring further harm or attention to him.”


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