After a fellow employee (Marvin) made an offer to buy a car of mine that was at our shop and subsequently failed to follow through with payments I told him not to drive it, that I had cancelled the insurance. On Saturday, Feb 12, after closing and changing my clothes to go home I discovered he had taken the car. When he didn't show up for work on Monday I called his live-in girlfriend and was informed she had thrown him out and he was on a drunken binge, driving my car. She said he was at home so I sent my assistant to the house to get the car, but it was gone. After calling his girlfriend again she said that she would tell him to return the car. He finally called me on Tuesday afternoon and said he would be in to work Wednesday morning, and I told him to be there and to stop driving my car and I would pick it up. He again didn't show up so I called his girlfriend again and told her to tell him that I wanted the car back by noon or I would have to report it stolen. By two p.m. he hadn't showed up so I called our local police and asked to report it stolen. After telling the dispatcher what had occured he put an officer on the phone and I explained the same thing to him. He then asked me if I just wanted the car back or if I wanted to file a stolen vehicle report. I said that I wanted the car back, that Marvin was driving it, that he was on a drunken binge, and that the car was not insured and unknown to me at that time was that he was driving without a license (suspended for prior DUI). The officer said that they would try to locate it that day and advise me. At 5:10 p.m. my employer called and told me he thought he had seen the car at a local bar so I called the police department and advised them. The dispatcher asked me to come to the station, which I did, and was advised that they located the car and asked for Marvin's description. While I waited at the station the police arrested Marvin and brought him to the station. After two or three brief conversations with the arresting officer he asked me to write a statement on a photocopy of a traffic accident report, then took it inside returning after a few minutes and asked me to come with him to a back room where he read me my rights, then informed me that he verified everything with Marvin and that the car was not a stolen car even though Marvin had it without my permission, and that I had filed a false police report and cited me with a criminal offense.
I appeared in court for an araignment and was advised that if I pleaded guilty I would be furnished with an attorney if I couldn't afford one, or I could plea no-contest and be found guilty, or I could plea not-guilty and have to furnish my own attorney. I am NOT-GUILTY, and entered that plea, but I cannot afford an attorney! Is that justice? Now I must appear on March 15th for a hearing with the district attorney.
It is my feeling that I have been made a scapegoat for the mistake that this arresting officer made by arresting Marvin without cause as he was inside the bar and not driving my car at the time, and as there was no stolen vehicle report made nor was he driving DUI there was no evident violation, thus no cause for his arrest. Marvin was released from jail without any charges being filed against him.
It should be noted that this arresting officer had only been on the police force for about six months, and when he cited me he had to look up the proper violation. I feel that I was tricked into writing that statement that he claims was a formal report of a stolen vehicle.
It should also be noted that this is a small town police department and that I have heard numerous mis-doings by the police here since this happened to me and that one officer had been taken off patrol because of numerous complaints including arresting the son of a man involved in a minor traffic accident that subsequently had a heart attack and was dying when his son was brought to the scene by another local man. The son was arrested while his father lay in the street dying for being "drunk-in-public" after having only had two beers and was never breathalized! The DPS officers at the scene were taken aback by the actions of the Chino Valley officer, which ultimately resulted in his being removed from the streets.