A Los Angeles Police officer is facing criminal charges in Orange County alleging he stole a pickup truck from a car dealership, used it to drive to work and attempted to cover up the theft using law enforcement resources.
Matthew Calleros, 45, of Whittier pleaded not guilty Monday to several felony and misdemeanor counts, including unlawful taking of a vehicle and forging a license plate, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
Prosecutors allege Calleros drove off with the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado from the B & J Car Company in Orange on Oct. 25, 2019, after he sent a salesman away to look up the vehicle’s history report.
Then, posing as another LAPD officer, he called the department’s Vehicle Warrant Unit to falsely report that the stolen truck had been recovered, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors say Calleros put a license plate number belonging to a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado on the stolen pickup. He then repeatedly accessed a confidential law enforcement database to run checks on both license plate numbers, prosecutors allege.
His attorney could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Calleros, who was most recently assigned to LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division, was arrested at the station in November after a nearly year-long investigation by the LAPD and the Orange Police Department. When he was arrested, the stolen truck was in the Hollenbeck station’s employee parking lot, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
At the time of his arrest, LAPD officials said they had opened an internal investigation into Calleros as well and suspended him . Calleros, a 24-year veteran of the LAPD, is still employed with the agency but remains stripped of his police powers, a spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
Calleros has twice filed for bankruptcy, in 1999 and last year, records show. And, in 2015, the federal Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien against him for nearly $20,000, according to the records.
After his arrest, Calleros was released from jail on his own recognizance and is expected to return to court in April. If he’s convicted of all charges, Calleros faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison.
Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report .