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Orange County deputy convicted in lobster-poaching case (Updated)

December 2, 2009 |  7:39 pm

An Orange County sheriff's deputy was convicted today for falsely claiming a fellow off-duty deputy was a confidential informant to protect him from being cited for lobster poaching.

Deputy Phillip Glenn Romero, 39, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of obstructing an officer, prosecutors said. [Updated 4:10 p.m., 12-3-09: The Orange County Sheriff's Department said Romero left the department in May.]

Romero was sentenced to 100 hours of community service, 18 months of probation and was ordered to pay $1,700 in restitution, fines and donations, including a payment to a preservation fund of the California Department of Fish and Game. He also was ordered to write a letter of apology to the state agency, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Deputy William Robb, 39, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of possessing an excessive number of spiny lobsters and possessing undersized spiny lobsters, prosecutors said. If convicted, Robb faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Dec. 17 at the Santa Ana courthouse.

Robb, who was off-duty, allegedly had a bucket with 13 undersized lobsters when he was questioned in November 2008 at the Dana Point harbor by a state game warden. At that point, prosecutors said, Romero arrived in uniform and realized that the agent had not identified Robb.

Prosecutors said Romero told the agent that he did not want Robb identified because he was a confidential informant for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

-- Robert J. Lopez