Santa Ana, CA – A Los Angeles police officer is facing multiple charges after he allegedly stole a truck from a dealership and used it as his personal vehicle for more than a year.
Los Angeles Police Officer Matthew Calleros, 45, has also been accused of contacting his department’s Vehicle Warrant Unit under a fellow officer’s name and altering the vehicle’s status from stolen to recovered, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release on Monday.
According to prosecutors, Officer Calleros went to B&J Car Company in Orange on Oct. 25, 2019, where he spoke with a salesman to request a Carfax report on a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado.
While the salesman was pulling the report, the officer allegedly stole the truck and sped off.
He then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department’s (LAPD) Vehicle Warrant Unit and used a fellow officer’s name to lie about the stolen vehicle supposedly being recovered, prosecutors said.
Officer Calleros allegedly proceeded to drive the vehicle around for more than a year afterwards – to include taking it to and from his job.
He has been accused of periodically running the truck’s license plate and a second plate from a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado that he had put on the stolen vehicle through the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System to keep tabs on their statuses.
Officer Calleros was arrested at the LAPD Hollenbeck Division on Nov. 9, 2020, following a nearly one-year-investigation, according to the district attorney’s office.
Investigators subsequently recovered the stolen vehicle from the LAPD employee parking lot, prosecutors said.
“The badge is pinned over the heart of every law enforcement officer for a reason,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the press release. “It is a symbol of public faith in the job every officer has sworn to do and the laws they are sworn to uphold.”
“When law enforcement officers use their training and law enforcement resources to victimize the very people they are sworn to protect, it tarnishes the badge of every law enforcement officer,” Spitzer wrote. “Every time an officer’s actions erodes the public trust, it undermines the rule of law.”
Officer Calleros has been charged with felony counts of forging of a license plate, unlawful taking of a vehicle, and false personation, as well as three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized disclosure of information from Department of Motor Vehicle records.
He faces up to four years and four months in prison if he is convicted of all six charges pending against him, prosecutors said.
Officer Calleros pleaded not guilty on Monday and was released on his own recognizance.
His next hearing has been scheduled for April 15.
Officer Calleros has been relieved of police powers and placed on leave by the LAPD, KTLA reported.