O.C. Squad Car Turns Fugitive -- a Second Strike
The sheriff's fleet car is stolen again from a jail parking lot even though it's past its prime.
By Susana Enriquez
Times Staff Writer

December 13, 2005

The Orange County Sheriff's Department has been left holding the keys. Again.

A sheriff's 2001 Ford Crown Victoria that was reported stolen Dec. 1 and recovered the next day was swiped again Sunday night from the parking lot of the county's Theo Lacy Branch Jail, in Orange.

"Police cars getting stolen is not unusual," said sheriff's Capt. Brian Wilkerson. "What is unusual is that the same one was stolen twice."

The white, four-door sedan was last seen by deputies about 10 p.m., he said. It was gone 30 minutes later.

The thief or thieves as before made off with the car, leaving deputies with nothing but a set of keys.

The car, which turned up at an apartment complex in San Bernardino the first time, has not resurfaced, Wilkerson said.

The car had no identification aside from 2-inch-high gold decals the number 1378 on the right front and left rear windows. Its license plate number is E1096061. The sedan is used as a fleet car at the jail, which is run by the Sheriff's Department.

Although the parking lot has surveillance cameras, investigators say the cameras are not hooked to any recording devices, Wilkerson said.

Why the car would be targeted twice is a bit of a puzzler. With roughly 70,000 to 90,000 miles on it, the car is on the brink of retirement, Wilkerson said.

"It's a piece of junk," he said.

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