Jacksonville officer arrested, accused of theft

Published On: Feb 27 2014 04:53:35 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 27 2014 05:03:54 PM EST
Julio Cerpa
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Police announced Thursday that a seven-year veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was arrested on a charge of petty theft.

Officer Julio Cerpa, 44, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office narcotics detective, is accused of stealing a $49 protein product from the Bailey's Gym on Merrill Road earlier this year.  According to the arrest report, the theft was caught on video taking the bottle that was on sale in a retail area of the business.

"You can see on the video pick up this jar of, some sort of cream," Undersheriff Dwayne Senterfitt said. "It really looks like he's waiting for the area to clear out of people, he picks the jar up again and he ducks down behind, between the two counters where you can't see him from either camera, and when he stand back up, there's nothing in his hand. He stands back up and walks out the door."

Cerpa's gun and badge were taken and he was assigned to a desk job taking phone calls from the public, where he'll stay until the criminal case is concluded.  If he is convicted, proceedings would begin to terminate his employment.

Undersheriff Dwayne Senterfitt said, Cerpa was investigated by Internal Affairs in 2013 for an incident in which he was accused of unnecessary force. He was eventually exonerated by Internal Affairs. Cerpa has received a written reprimand and four letter of referrals for citizen complaints over the years, including one case that accused him of using unnecessary force.