45-year-old Whittier resident Matthew Calleros pleaded not guilty on Monday to the three felonies and three misdemeanor counts he’s charged with. They include the illegal theft of an automobile, forging a license plate, false personation, and unauthorized disclosure of info from state DMV data, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office stated in an announcement.
It’s alleged that Calleros went to B&J Car Co. on Chapman Avenue on October 25, 2019, and drove a 2015 Chevy Silverado off the lot after asking a salesman to pull a Carfax report on the truck.
Gino Gonzalez, a sales supervisor at the used car lot said he remembered Calleros coming in and strolling straight to the Silverado.
Gonzalez says he showed Calleros around the truck, opened the hood, and turning the engine on. He walked to his office after being Calleros requested the Carfax report and heard the hood shut before he arrived at his office door.
“I turned around and he was already climbing into the truck, and he proceeded to drive off,” Gonzalez mentioned.
Surveillance video from the dealership reveals Gonzalez running after the truck because it was driven away.
After he stole the truck, Calleros used one other L.A. police officer’s ID to call his department’s Vehicle Warrant Unit to report the pickup had been recovered, prosecutors stated.
Officials additionally allege he accessed the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS), a confidential database connecting public safety agencies statewide, to run checks on his stolen truck’s license plate number and a plate number for a 2014 Silverado that he put onto the stolen truck.
Prosecutors say Calleros drove the stolen truck for over 12 months, including driving it to work as a police officer. The pickup was discovered inside the employee car parking zone at LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division when Calleros was arrested last year on November 9.
The LAPD said it found out about the investigation in late September and “fully cooperated” with Orange police, resulting in Calleros being identified and arrested.
The department mentioned on Monday that it has relieved Calleros’ police officer powers and that he has been assigned to home.
Gonzalez was shocked when he heard it was an LAPD officer who has been arrested in the case.
“That’s the last thing you ever think,” Gonzalez said. “There are people out there that are corrupt and out stealing, and you figure a policeman’s out there to defend and protect. That’s the last thing you want to hear,” he added.
Orange County DA Todd Spitzer has condemned the criminal allegations.
“Every time an officer’s actions erode the public trust, it undermines the rule of law,” Spitzer said in a press release.
Calleros could face up to 4 years and 4 months behind bars if convicted of the charges, the DA’s office said.
The defendant has been released on his own recognizance and is due to return to court on April 15.
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.