Updated at 5:40 p.m. Jan. 30, 2015
Two married former San Diego police officers who broke into people’s homes while on duty and stole prescription painkillers to feed their drug addictions were each sentenced Friday to three years in state prison.
Bryce Charpentier, 32, and Jennifer Charpentier, 42, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit a burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime — possession and sale of a controlled substance — selling or furnishing a narcotic substance and possession of a firearm by an addict.
The Charpentiers admitted sending text messages to each other in order to set up burglaries in which they stole prescription drugs from people with whom they had contact while on duty. The defendants also admitted stealing Hydrocodone and selling the drug, even taking one of their four children along on one of the deliveries, authorities said.
Bryce Charpentier — a six-year SDPD veteran — apologized to the San Diego Police Department and the community for his actions, saying he became addicted to painkillers because of post-traumatic stress disorder along with disc, hip and spinal pain.
Defense attorney Matthew Speredelozzi said Jennifer Charpentier became addicted after severely injuring her ankle on the job.
“This case has shaken her to the core,” Speredelozzi said of his client.
Jennifer Charpentier — who was with the San Diego Police Department for 18 years — said she was “horribly embarrassed” and “sickened” by what happened.
Both Speredelozzi and Bryce Charpentier’s attorney, Kate Braner, argued unsuccessfully for the defendants to be placed on probation.
Deputy District Attorney Matthew Tag, arguing for a seven-year prison term for Jennifer Charpentier and six years in prison for her husband, said the defendants stole from the sick in order to get high.
“These two have betrayed the badge,” the prosecutor said. “They were wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis called the case “very sad,” believing that the defendants were remorseful.
Lewis said the case was more serious than the average street drug transaction, highlighted by the fact that the Charpentiers were police officers.
“The defendants are victims of their own addictions,” the judge said.
She said the Charpentiers were good officers who since their arrests have made efforts to rehabilitate.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis told reporters that Friday marked a somber day for San Diego law enforcement.
“When those who swear to uphold the law break the law, it’s a violation of the public trust and a betrayal to those who honorably serve,” Dumanis said. “No one is above the law.”
The defendants were arrested last June as part of a sheriff’s department narcotics investigation.
“These cases are challenging and hurtful for all of us,” SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said. “It is reprehensible that these two former officers made the terrible decision to betray and disgrace our badge and our profession. We expect the highest standards from our officers.”
The defendants were ordered to report for custody next Friday.
— City News Service