accused of stealing prescription drugs from elderly residents to satisfy his own addiction was convicted today and sentenced to 2.5 years in jail with the option to serve part of his sentence in a locked-down treatment facility.A former Concord police officer
Matthew Switzer, 38, pleaded no contest in a Martinez courtroom to
two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary, one
count of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs and one count of elder
abuse, according to prosecutors.
"The sentence is a recognition that this is a serious offense
committed by a peace officer, however it balances the need to potentially
rehabilitate him and the opportunity for rehabilitation is part of the
sentence," said Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Barry Grove.
"If he takes of advantage of that, hopefully he can be
rehabilitated, and if he doesn't he'll have a long stay in county jail and
we'll probably be seeing him again," he said.
Switzer made a brief apology to the court and to the victims in
the case during his court appearance today.
He has been in custody at the county jail in Martinez since he
turned himself in on the charges in early April and immediately resigned from
his post as a K-9 officer with the Concord Police Department.
Concord police Chief Guy Swanger alerted the district attorney's
office after getting a tip from a resident in February about Switzer's
Prosecutors said the defendant used his position as a police
officer to enter the homes of several seniors in Concord and steal a powerful
prescription drug called Norco.
He also obtained medication using multiple phony prescriptions,
according to Grove.
Harry Stern, Switzer's attorney, has said that his client
developed a prescription drug addiction after using the medication to cope
with an undisclosed injury and to ease his PTSD.
Stern said his client has a good reputation in the community and
family members who he said have rallied to support Switzer since his arrest.
Addiction & PTSD Made Him Do It! Attorney for Concord Ex-Cop Explains Alleged Rx Thefts.
Concord Cop Accused of Swiping Rx Drugs Resigns.
Concord Cop Charged With Stealing Rx Drugs From Seniors.
--Bay City News