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City Attorney Charges Former Coach With Theft

Former Burroughs High boys’ basketball coach Austin Pope has been charged with one count of theft following a monthslong investigation, the Burbank Police Department announced in a press statement Wednesday.

Pope, who was a basketball standout himself as a student at Burbank High, was abruptly terminated on Dec. 1 in his first season as Burroughs coach.

In December 2023, Burbank police said they received notice from the school district about “possible theft of funds.” The six-month police investigation followed, which included witness and victim statements and the review of financial records, according to the BPD statement.

“The investigation revealed that Mr. Pope misappropriated funds he was entrusted with in his official capacity as a coach,” the police statement said. “The case was reviewed by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, who referred it to the Burbank city attorney’s office. The Burbank city attorney’s office has since reviewed the case and filed one count of theft by false pretenses exceeding $950.”

Pope is due to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 28 for arraignment.

The Leader reached out to Pope for comment and did not receive a response by its press deadline on Friday.

The termination in December prompted protests from parents and students outside the campus the following day, voicing support for the first-year coach.

School officials at the time did not provide an explanation for the dismissal of Pope, who was hired in May 2023.

Bears junior varsity coach Malique Johnson took over as interim coach for the remainder of the season, which Burroughs finished with a 15-14 overall record. The Bears were fourth in the Pacific League.

The school has since hired Darryl Carter as the new boys’ basketball coach. Carter was previously an assistant coach at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino.

Prior to coaching, Pope graduated from Burbank High in 2013 and went on to play collegiately at Chaminade University and professionally overseas. He served as an assistant coach at Viewpoint High in Calabasas before taking on the Burroughs job.

Burbank police said the investigation is continuing and are asking anyone with information to contact the BPD Investigations Division at (818) 238-3210.

First published in the June 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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