By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An LAPD officer has been relieved of his police powers after being charged with stealing a truck from a car dealership in the city of Orange and changing its status from stolen to recovered.

(credit: Orange Police Department)

Matthew Calleros, 45, of Whittier, pleaded not guilty Monday to three felony counts in connection with the car theft and three misdemeanors of unauthorized disclosure of DMV records.

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“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,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s office, Calleros drove off the lot of B & J Car Company in Orange with a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado on Oct. 25, 2019, after asking a car salesman to pull up a CarFax on the vehicle.

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Calleros accessed his own department’s Vehicle Warrant Unit, using the credentials of another LAPD officer, to change the stolen truck’s status to recovered and drove the truck for more than a year – including to work as a police officer, prosecutors said. He also allegedly accessed the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System several times to check on its plate, and a different plate number belonging to a 2014 model Chevrolet Silverado that he put on the stolen vehicle.

A nearly year-long investigation by the LAPD and Orange Police Department ended with Calleros’ arrest on Nov. 9 at the Hollenbeck Division, where he was last assigned. The stolen truck was recovered from the station’s employee parking lot, prosecutors said.

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If convicted as charged, Calleros faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison. Calleros was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to return to court on April 15.