An LAPD officer was arrested on suspicion of stealing a pickup truck from a dealership in Orange last year, officials said Tuesday.
Authorities arrested Matthew Calleros, a 45-year-old officer with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Division, on suspicion of auto theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.
On Oct. 25, 2019, Calleros was looking at a $29,000 Chevy Silverado from a used car dealership in the 1100 block of West Chapman Avenue, the Orange Police Department told the Associated Press.
Without doing an official test drive, he drove it off the lot, Sgt. Phil McMullin told the AP. Calleros did not pay or return the truck, the sergeant said.
Gino Gonzalez, a sales manager at B&J Car Company on Chapman Avenue, said the man identified as Calleros came into the dealership last year and walked straight to a 2015 Chevy Silverado, seeming very interested.
Gonzalez says he approached Calleros and showed him around the truck, opening the hood and starting the engine.
“He made a comment, said he had his own financing,” Gonzalez said.
Calleros then asked for a Carfax report, which Gonzalez says he went to the office to get.
“Before I got to the office doors, I heard the hood shut,” Gonzalez said. “I turned around and he was already climbing into the truck, and he proceeded to drive off.”
Surveillance video shows Gonzalez running after the truck as it was driven away.
“It all happened so fast,” he told KTLA. “You never expect it. It takes you by surprise.”
But Gonzalez said he was even more surprised Tuesday, when he heard the news that an LAPD officer was arrested in the case.
“That’s the last thing you ever think,” he said. “There’s 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.”
Orange police reported finding the missing vehicle parked at Calleros’ station in L.A., where Calleros was taken into custody Monday evening, according to AP.
He was booked into the Orange County Jail and released just before 3 a.m. Tuesday, inmate records show.
According to LAPD, it learned of the autotheft investigation in late September and “fully cooperated” with Orange officials, leading to Calleros’ identification and arrest.
The department said it has suspended Calleros’ peace officer powers pending the investigation by the city of Orange and its own personnel probe. He has been “assigned home,” according to LAPD.
Orange police said they’re working with LAPD and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on the case.
Authorities in Orange asked anyone with information about the case to call detectives at 714-744-7444.