Cop accused of shoplifting placed on leave

An off-duty Santa Clara police officer who allegedly shoplifted a watch from a Target store in San Jose earlier this month is on paid administrative leave, police said Wednesday.

Santa Clara police Officer Kiet Nguyen, 48, has served 24 years with the department and has been on leave since May 16, Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke.

Nguyen was in the patrol division before he went on leave and has previously served in the investigations division, Clarke said.

On May 16, San Jose police officers responded to a report of someone shoplifting at the Westgate Center Target store located at 1600 Saratoga Ave. around 3:40 p.m., San Jose police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

The store’s loss prevention officers had detained Nguyen, who was found with a $250 smartwatch that he concealed on himself, Garcia said.

The loss prevention officers saw Nguyen take the watch by disabling its locking device with a magnetic key and wire cutters, Garcia said.

Nguyen was cited for shoplifting and possession of burglary tools, both misdemeanors, and was released, according to Garcia.

Clarke said:

“We are sad to hear that one of our officers was arrested and are awaiting the outcome of the criminal investigation.”