Ex-Bay Area CHP officer gets 90 days for grand theft of auto parts

A previous California Freeway Patrol officer who at first was accused, along with one more man, of felony embezzlement and auto pieces thefts from late 2016 to mid-2018, has been purchased to provide 90 times in Solano County Jail, The Reporter has learned.

Solano County Superior Courtroom records confirmed Todd Curtis Smith, 50, who waived his legal rights in the course of a June 21 court appearance and pleaded to one particular depend of grand theft, was sentenced Monday early morning in Department 1 in the Justice Center in Fairfield. He was represented by Vallejo-primarily based legal defense legal professional Daniel J. Russo.

A county Probation Section report encouraged that the sentence be suspended and Smith be offered two decades probation, but courtroom paperwork obviously stated the 90-working day sentence, which requires Smith to report by 9 a.m. Nov. 21 to get started serving the time.

Decide Jeffrey C. Kauffman also ordered a scenario progress assessment and scheduled it for Nov. 14 but Smith does not have to look for the continuing.

In addition, Kauffman ordered Smith to spend $600 in fines and have “no figuring out contact” with two other men connected to the circumstance: Nicholas Ryan Bonachea and Thomas Carpenter.

Bonachea, 41, a former CHP auto technician, is scheduled for a readiness conference and demo setting at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 in the Justice Heart in Fairfield.

The most current developments day followed a two-working day preliminary listening to and a held-to-respond to arraignment on Might 4 previous calendar year.

Court information point out that Smith was arrested Nov. 30, 2018, by a fellow officer at the CHP Golden Gate Division offices on Benicia Road in Vallejo. Shortly just after being booked into Solano County Jail, he posted $35,000 bail on the cost, felony embezzlement/grand theft exceeding $950.

Bonachea was arrested the exact working day on suspicion of felony embezzlement exceeding $950. Immediately after being booked into jail, he posted a $35,000 bond on Dec. 4.

A third suspect in the situation, Thomas Jerome Carpenter, 52, also was arrested on Nov. 30 on fees of obtaining stolen home, auto areas, among the other things. Right after becoming booked into jail, he also posted a $35,000 bond on Dec. 4.

The 3 were being arraigned on the rates Dec. 31 in Office 17 in the Corridor of Justice in Fairfield. Every single pleaded not responsible.

In the ensuing months, on the other hand, Carpenter, charged with two counts of acquiring stolen assets, pleaded responsible and was sentenced on Aug. 17 very last yr. Nevertheless, publicly obtainable courtroom records do not point out exactly what punishment Kauffman imposed. Ahead of he pleaded, he faced the likelihood of a most of 5 years in prison, plus fines.

Carpenter, also an auto mechanic, was originally billed with receiving stolen property exceeding $950 (auto pieces, a hand controller, and a CHP medical bag), and his probation term was transferred to his latest county of home, which, in accordance to courtroom documents, is Butte County.

A look for of court docket data showed that the scenario from him was shut on Nov. 30, 2020, and there was no other facts in the court’s doc management process.

At the outset of the to start with working day of the preliminary hearing, April 19, Deputy District Legal professional William J. Moser, who led the prosecution at the time, referred to as CHP Detective James Hampton to the witness stand.

Hampton indicated that, at 1 stage, he obtained a look for warrant for Carpenter’s residence in Pacheco, in which investigators observed what was described as a “hand-held manage device” and a “touchscreen gadget.”

During the home’s search, Carpenter arrived and told investigators that he obtained “some items” from Bonachea and admitted, according to Hampton, that he was not authorized to have the products, that they were stolen and truly worth $2,000. Investigators also identified vehicle pieces belonging to the CHP in Carpenter’s garage.

Hampton observed that Bonachea had labored for the CHP at the Car or truck Care Center in Vallejo since 2015. He also testified that the car sections, including brand name-new rims and tires meant for CHP cars, were being employed on personalized vehicles belonging to Carpenter, Bonachea and Smith.

In addition, Hampton claimed, the a few men used CHP vehicle parts “to conserve money” whilst performing on an “auto-flipping” business.

On cross-assessment, Russo peppered Hampton with queries about how he identified the motor vehicles had stolen pieces. Hampton explained they ended up labeled as CHP house, either on a box or with some form of sticker or marking instantly on the part.

Fairfield legal protection legal professional Vincent Maher, who represented Bonachea at the time, got Hampton to admit below cross-assessment that tires and rims, brake pads “don’t have CHP stamps” or other identifiers on them.

Smith, experienced he been convicted at trial, confronted up to three a long time in jail.

If convicted at trial, Bonachea also faces the likelihood of a maximum 3-year expression powering bars, as well as fines.

In a complaint filed on Nov. 30, 2018, by the Solano County District Legal professional, prosecutors say Smith and Bonachea committed the alleged crimes concerning Dec. 6, 2016, and June 13, 2018.

Items outlined stolen incorporate a laptop touchscreen, reflective rain jackets with CHP patches, CHP decals, and a CHP cruiser exterior general public handle program.