Pair found in allegedly stolen vehicle, driver booked on DUI
Lake Havasu City Police officers arrested a California man and a Kingman woman Saturday when they were allegedly found in a stolen vehicle.
The vehicle caught officers’ notice when they allegedly saw it parked in front of a Palo Verde Boulevard gas station, parked directly in front of the entrance door with its headlights shining directly inside. The vehicle was allegedly parked at an angle, and not inside any marked parking space.
Officers recorded the vehicle’s license plate and ran a records check, revealing the vehicle had been reported stolen from California. Responding units followed the vehicle as it exited the station’s parking lot, and conducted a felony traffic stop near the intersection of South Palo Verde Boulevard and Diamond Drive.
Seven additional police officers arrived at the scene, weapons drawn as they approached the vehicle. Officers commanded the vehicle’s driver to turn off the vehicle and throw the keys outside. The driver, later identified as 44-year-old Andy W. Warren, of Morongo Valley, complied before officers commanded him to exit the vehicle with his hands raised, according to police.
Warren surrendered himself to police custody, according to the report, and officers commanded a female passenger, later identified as 35-year-old Kingman resident Ashlie D. Garcia, to exit the vehicle.
According to the report, Warren repeatedly told officers that the vehicle wasn’t stolen, and that he had a bill of sale for the vehicle. Officers confirmed the vehicle was reported stolen from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with a matching vehicle identification number, the police report said.
Officers conducted an inventory of the vehicle, the report said, and located two open 24-ounce beers on the passenger floorboard; and both cans appeared to be half-full. Another can of beer was allegedly located behind the driver’s seat, and another was located behind the front passenger seat.
Warren agreed to speak with officers about the incident, the report said. According to police, Andy appeared to be mildly intoxicated during that conversation, and admitted he and Garcia had been drinking while driving. He was administered a breath test at the Lake Havasu City Police Department, which registered his blood-alcohol concentration as about 0.040. While the legal BAC limit to drive in Arizona is 0.08, Warren’s license was allegedly suspended on a prior DUI offense. He also submitted to have a blood sample drawn, the report said, to determine his level of possible drug content.
According to statements allegedly given by Warren during his interview with police, he discovered the allegedly stolen vehicle for sale at a listed price of $3,500. He allegedly told officers it was “practically a steal.”
Warren allegedly said he met two women in a Temecula, Calif, parking lot to purchase the vehicle. According to the report, he said he had only $2,600 of the agreed $3,500 to purchase the vehicle when he arrived, and hoped he could negotiate with the sellers.
He said the sellers agreed to allow him to pay the remaining $900 on Jan. 1, after he received his next paycheck. One of the sellers wrote a bill of sale for warren, he allegedly told officers, and they told him they would give him the title after he produced the remaining $900 for them. Without the title, Warren said, he did not go to the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles to register the vehicle.
Warren allegedly told officers the two women seemed “seedy,” and he had doubts that he was conducting a legitimate legal transaction. According to the report, Warren told officers he began to receive phone calls and text messages days later from a man who said he was the registered owner of the vehicle. According to Warren’s alleged statement, the man said he would allow Warren to pay $500 instead of the full remaining $900 in exchange for the vehicle’s title – money he said he didn’t have.
The unidentified male allegedly warned Warren he would report the vehicle stolen if he didn’t pay. Warren showed a record of those text messages to police officers, the report said.
Based on statements made by Warren, Havasu police detectives believed Garcia had no involvement in the truck’s alleged purchase, or possible lack thereof.
Officers investigated the appraisal value of the truck and found its price range to be about $6,200 in private sale. Because Warren allegedly admitted the selling price was substantially lower than vehicles of comparable value, and failed to do his due diligence to ensure the vehicle was not stolen, officers determined that charges of theft of a means of transportation was an appropriate charge against him, the report said.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes Title 13, Section 2305, the purchase of allegedly stolen property substantially below its fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained, may give rise to an inference that the person buying or selling said property was aware of the risk it had been stolen.
Officers contacted the vehicle’s registered owner on Sunday. According to the report, the owner reported the vehicle stolen from his father’s driveway on Dec. 1. He allegedly said he knew nothing of where the vehicle had been taken. Police gave the registered owner information necessary to retrieve his vehicle.
Warren was charged with theft of a means of transportation, aggravated DUI and possession of an open liquor container in a vehicle. Garcia was charged with possession of an open liquor container in a vehicle.