Lantana Police officer arrested

Charged with targeting Hispanic men

LANTANA, Fla. - LANTANA, Fla. - Lantana police officer Mark Ott is on the other side of the law today.

He's accused of pulling over Hispanic males on traffic stops, searching them and stealing money from them.

According to court documents, the FBI was made aware of the theft allegations in March.

The State Attorney's office assigned its Public Integrity Unit Task Force to the case.

Investigators interviewed 4 men who said Ott stole from them. According to an arrest report the officer would pull the Hispanic men over, search them, and in almost every case take their wallet and tell them to stay in his police cruiser.

The report says when Ott brought the men's wallets back, money would be missing. Investigators say up to 530 dollars was taken during at least four vehicle stops.

Some of the men who were pulled over spoke little English. In some cases they didn't have a driver's license, but were never ticketed.

Honduran Organization of Palm Beach president Jose Cerrato reacted to the arrest saying, "Everybody is human, but he's an animal because the community, the Hispanic community is working hard."

Investigators arrested Ott Wednesday after setting up a sting.

Ott's first court appearance was Thursday morning.

His bond was set at $25,000.

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