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Deputy Arrested on Suspicion of Theft Attempt, Other Felonies

Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy assigned to the Hall of Justice jail, who allegedly befriended an inmate serving a life term, was recently arrested on suspicion of attempted grand theft of a car and other felonies, it was learned Thursday.

Although no formal charges have been filed against Paul Darrell Orrin, a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, arraignment was set for June 4 in Los Angeles Municipal Court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Herbert Lapin said.

Orrin, 36, and two others were arrested April 30 based on information provided by inmate Michael Lynne Thompson, Lapin said. Thompson, a convicted murderer imprisoned for life without possibility of parole, is being housed in the jail because he is testifying in a criminal case across the street.

Court documents show that Orrin arranged with Thompson last month to have a car sold in Mexico through the inmate’s contacts outside the jail. The car had been bought fraudulently by an unknown person and should have been impounded by police, Lapin said.

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It is unclear how Orrin had access to the car, Lapin said.

$4,000 in Marked Bills

Based on Thompson’s tip, authorities observed Orrin accept $4,000 in marked bills--the supposed profits from the sale--from the inmate’s girlfriend, according to a sworn affidavit.

In a second incident, Orrin is accused of arranging to have a car belonging to a friend sold in Mexico, also through Thompson’s contacts. The inmate-informant told authorities that he and Orrin were to split the proceeds from the sale and that the owner of the car was to report it stolen and collect on the insurance policy, the documents show.

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As a result of Thompson’s tip, sheriff’s detectives observed Orrin leave the second car in a parking lot, where the inmate’s associate was to pick it up.

Besides attempted grand theft, Orrin, who is free on $10,500 bail, is to be charged with six other felony counts, including unlawful possession of a machine gun and conspiracy to commit grand theft and prepare a false police report, Lapin said.

2 Others Arrested

Janette Morgan, 38, the owner of the second car, and Richard Carl Reynoso, 34, the retired sheriff’s deputy she lives with, were also arrested in connection with the case. Reynoso, who left the force in 1984, will be charged with five felonies, and Morgan, who reported the car stolen, faces seven felony counts and one misdemeanor.

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Each faces a maximum of eight years in state prison, according to Lapin.

Thompson is not considered a participant in the schemes, the prosecutor said.

A Sheriff’s Department spokesman, Deputy Pete Fosselman, said Orrin, who was arrested at the jail, has been suspended with pay pending the filing of charges.


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