“Officer Lofu” is no doubt a corrupt cop — it’s good thing he doesn’t exist.
But the 20-year-old San Mateo man accused of posing as a police officer at a home in Redwood City has claimed the real him is — in reality — a hero.
Danny Pita has pleaded not guilty to charges of residential burglary and possession of a firearm as a felon in connection with the May 13 incident. The incident unfolded, according to prosecutors, when Pita knocked on the door of a home where he knew a drug dealer lived and identified himself as Officer Manu Lofu. There is no one named Manu Lofu on the Redwood City police force.
Pita told the person who answered the door, a 20-year-old man, that the police were onto him, and knew he was a marijuana dealer, prosecutors said. He allegedly warned of a police raid later that day, but said he was was giving him this heads-up because he’d heard from his cousin he was a good guy.
Pita went above and beyond the call of duty: he told the man to give him whatever was in the house that might get the resident in trouble – and walked away with a half-pound of marijuana, a 9mm Beretta pistol and $1500 in cash, according to prosecutors.
The raid, of course, never happened.
On May 17, the resident went to the police, the real police, with video footage from his home surveillance system that featured “Officer Lofu.” And later that same day, the police found and stopped Pita driving in Redwood City with the gun, and diminished quantities of cash and marijuana.
Pita explained to the police he had just been trying to stop a neighborhood dope dealer.
Pita, who is on felony probation for a 2016 robbery of a Kentucky Fried Chicken, pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the case on May 21. His case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Redwood City Felony Court on Wednesday, but the case was continued to allow the defense to review police reports.
Pita remains in custody on $50,000 bail.