Police Chief Leaves Gun in Bathroom, Cops Blame Innocent Man for Stealing it
A California police chief who left a loaded gun inside a bathroom stall of a fast food restaurant ordered police to search the home of a man who not only did not have the gun, he was nowhere near the El Pollo Loco where she had left it.
But he was arrested anyway along with his wife on unrelated charges after San Luis Obispo police searched his home without a warrant and determined his house was messy. His kids were also seized by the county.
San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell also violated city policy by waiting two hours to report her gun stolen, resulting in her having to pay a $1,600 fine.
Nevertheless, San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson praised Cantrell for her "integrity throughout the incident," according to Cal Coast Times.
But the facts reveal incompetency more than anything.
Chief Cantrell left the loaded Glock in the bathroom of the El Pollo Loco around noon on July 10. When she realized had left the gun behind, she returned to the restaurant and reviewed surveillance video, determining three people had entered the bathroom after her.
The chief said two of people were still in the restaurant and did not have the gun so apparently they were unlawfully searched.
That left the third man who was obviously clean-shaven in the video which somehow led police to the home of a man with a full beard and mustache.
According to the Cal Coast Times:
The last person, who was the first to enter the restroom after Cantrell left, was not in the restaurant when the chief returned to look for her firearm. The man, later identified as 30-year-old Skeeter Carlos Mangan of Los Osos, was shown in the video – clean-shaven, balding and wearing a black jacket and shorts.
Shortly before 7 p.m., a group of five detectives were dispatched to a home on O’Connor Way after an officer said a man who lived in the home resembled the man in the video. Even so, the dispatch log shows the officer were sent to El Pollo Loco on Los Osos Valley Road for a lost property report.
The group of police drew the attention of a man living in the house with his wife and two children.
The man, who is not being identified by CalCoastNews, came out to ask the officers what was going on. The man had a full beard and mustache.
Even so, detectives Jason Dickel and Suzie Walsh told the man that they knew he had stolen the chief’s pistol and ordered him to tell them where it was, the man said. He told the officers he had been in Atascadero with his wife and two children at a medical appointment and that he had not been at El Pollo Loco in SLO.
Police asked the man for consent to search his home but he asked for a warrant. Police then informed him he was on probation so they didn't need a warrant. The man told them it was not him but a relative who was on probation. He even had the documentation to prove it.
But police refused to see the court documents.
"You have the gun and we are going in to get it," San Luis Obispo police officer Jason Dickel told him, according to his interview with the Cal Coast Times.
The cops entered the home and kicked his bedroom down and after finding no gun, they arrested the couple on child neglect charges, taking the kids into county custody because the "house was unclean."
A county social worker named Carrie Bailey voiced her agreement with the decision to remove the kids from the home, telling the Cal Coast Times that a photograph taken by the deputies proves the parents were allowing drug paraphernalia in the children's bedroom but that turned out to be a lie.
In support of removing the children from their parents’ custody Carrie Bailey, a county social worker, claimed a photograph taken in the parents’ bedroom of paraphernalia was taken in the children’s bedroom. When asked about the misstatement, Debra Barriger, a deputy county counsel, said the county is not permitted to disclose child custody issues.
Seven hours after she had left the gun in the bathroom, police received a call from the brother-in-law of the clean-shaven man in the video who told them to swing by and pick up the gun. The Cal Coast Times did not identify the couple who were arrested.
Check out the chief's explanation below.