An LAPD officer was arrested and charged after he allegedly stole a pickup truck off an Orange County used car lot. Prosecutors say that 45-year-old officer Matthew Calleros switched the status of the truck to recovered, and then drove the vehicle around (including to work) for more than a year.
Calleros has pleaded not guilty to three felonies and three misdemeanors. The charges he faces include unlawful taking of a vehicle, forging a license plate, false personation, and unauthorized disclosure of information from state DMV records.
According to the DA’s version of events, Calleros went to B&J Car Co. on October 25, 2019. He asked a salesman to give him a Carfax report for a 2015 Chevy Silverado, and then drove off in that vehicle when the salesman turned around.
A manager at the lot, Gino Gonzalez, told KTLA that Calleros walked straight to the Silverado, and appeared to be very interested. Gonzalez says he popped the hood and started the engine, and when he walked to his office to retrieve the Carfax report he heard the hood close. He said this all happened before he even made it to his office door.
“I turned around and he was already climbing into the truck, and he proceeded to drive off,” Gonzalez told the outlet.
Surveillance footage reportedly shows Gonzalez chasing the truck as it drives away.
Afterward Calleros allegedly used the ID of another LAPD officer to tell the Vehicle Warrant Unit of his department that the stolen truck was recovered.
Prosecutors claim Calleros was driving the Silverado around for over a year. As already stated above, this includes driving to work.
He was arrested on November 9, 2020, and the pickup was found in the employee lot of an LAPD station. The department says that it became aware of an investigation in late September, and says it was fully cooperative with the proceedings.
An anonymous tip is being credited as the thing that led to his arrest. The dealer had written the theft off and moved on.
On that end, Gonzalez expressed shock that the person who took the truck was an LAPD officer.
“That’s the last thing you ever think,” the salesman 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.”
If convicted Calleros could serve up to four years and four months in state prison.
In the meantime he’s been released on his own recognizance, and will be back in court on April 15.