Weapons cache seized at home of LAPD officer accused of having sex with teenage cadet, sources say
More than 100 firearms, including modified assault rifles, were recovered Thursday at the home of the Los Angeles police officer accused of having sex with an underage member of the department’s cadet program, deepening concerns about the embattled youth initiative, law enforcement sources said.
The weapons were recovered during a search of Officer Robert Cain’s Rancho Cucamonga home that took place hours after he was arrested on suspicion of having unlawful sex with a 15-year-old cadet, according to three law enforcement sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
Some of the weapons were described as assault rifles, the sources said. Two of the sources said a grenade launcher and grenades were recovered, but the devices were either dysfunctional or inert.
A neighbor, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions, told The Times that Cain has an extensive gun collection and likes to build and modify his own AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. Cain would sometimes invite others to participate in the weapons projects, including fellow law enforcement officers, the neighbor said.
“He moved in three years ago. He threw a party. He is a very friendly guy,” the neighbor said.
Officer Aareon Jefferson, an LAPD spokesman, confirmed that the department took weapons from Cain’s home while executing a search warrant Thursday night, adding that investigators are working to determine if the firearms are legal in California. He would not comment on the number or types of weapons recovered.
The department has also initiated a personnel complaint against Cain that could result in discipline or termination, a source told The Times on Friday.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck personally arrested Cain on Thursday morning. The sexual misconduct allegations surfaced as the department continues to investigate the theft of several LAPD cruisers, stun guns, police radios and other equipment that as many as seven cadets are suspected of carrying out in recent weeks.
The 15-year-old victim was one of the cadets arrested in connection with the thefts, Beck said. Investigators uncovered text messages between Cain and the 15-year-old that suggested “inappropriate behavior” and also revealed Cain probably knew the cadets were stealing cruisers and equipment, Beck said.
Cain, 31, a 10-year veteran of the department, had been assigned to the equipment room at 77th Street Division in South L.A. Six of the seven cadets arrested in connection with the thefts were assigned to the same division.
Police are trying to determine if there are other victims. Beck said he does not believe any other sworn LAPD officers committed wrongdoing in connection with the cadet program.
After a week spent responding to the allegations, Beck will address the program’s more than 2,000 teens and young adults during a graduation ceremony at USC on Saturday. Graduating cadets are also scheduled to speak about their positive experiences with the initiative, in the face of the growing scandal.
Cain was freed on $75,000 bail around 5 a.m. Friday, and his first court appearance is scheduled for July 21, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department records.
Charges have yet to be filed against Cain or any of the cadets arrested in the last week.
A swarm of LAPD officers arrived at Cain’s home Thursday to execute a search warrant and warned residents there may have been explosives inside the home, said the neighbor, who added that Cain lived there with his mother.
Cain would often host barbecues that were frequented by other law enforcement officers, the neighbor said. No one answered the door at Cain’s home Friday morning.
The son of an LAPD officer who died in 2012, Cain was previously assigned to the department’s Van Nuys Division, his personal Facebook page said. He transferred to the 77th Street Division in 2015, one post said. The LAPD said it is barred by state law from discussing an officer’s employment history.
In the few public posts on his page, Cain presents himself as a gun and car enthusiast. He also often posted about work, once talking about meeting actor Shia LaBeouf while responding to a call at his Los Angeles home in 2014.
This was an officer that was in a station, in a kit room, and somehow developed a relationship with these kids?
— City Councilman Mitchell Englander
The unfolding scandal has drawn angry reactions from city leaders, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the union that represents rank-and-file officers. On Friday, City Councilman Mitchell Englander introduced a motion calling for an audit of all of the LAPD’s youth initiatives, including the cadet program.
“We’re not only looking at this particular incident or division, or the cadet program, but all the youth programs within LAPD and all of the financials,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity during a crisis to take advantage of change, and there is certainly needed change.”
Beck has already ordered a “top-to-bottom” review of the cadet program and suspended the initiative at the 77th Street and Pacific divisions, but Englander said Friday his motion would invite public input and discussion about issues facing the program.
Englander praised the program as a haven for at-risk teens but also expressed concern about how well cadets are supervised.
“This was an officer that was in a station, in a kit room, and somehow developed a relationship with these kids?” Englander asked. “That means there’s definitely flaws in the system as far as supervision and oversight.”
Beck has said that Cain was not assigned to any of the department’s youth programs.
The department assigns a male and a female youth services officer to each division to prevent situations in which adults and teens of different genders might be alone together, said Josh Rubenstein, the LAPD’s chief spokesman.
But the LAPD does not have a written policy, he said, that expressly forbids officers from being alone with cadets or other minors enrolled in department youth programs.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT and @LACrimes for crime and police news in California.
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6:15 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details about the cadet program from an LAPD spokesman.
3:35 p.m.: This article was updated with additional information about a personnel complaint against Cain, details from Cain’s public posts on social media and comments from City Councilman Mitchell Englander.
This article was originally published at 12:40 p.m.
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