By Kelsey Stewart
The preliminary hearing for Jacob Isaiah Rangel reconvened on Friday, May 24, in Department 13.
Mr. Rangel is facing counts of theft or unauthorized use of a vehicle, purchase of a stolen vehicle, possession of controlled substances and receipt of stolen property.
These matters date back to April 9, 2019, when an officer ran the plate of a gold GMC and confirmed that the vehicle was stolen.
That same officer testified in court Friday and identified Mr. Rangel as the individual driving the stolen car.
On that April night, the officer contacted the owner of the vehicle, who confirmed that Mr. Rangel did not have permission to use the car nor did he even know the defendant. The victim stated that he had lost his car the previous night when he went to Home Depot. Once he finished shopping, his car was not in the parking lot. He guessed that he either left the keys in the car or left them at the register.
There were credit and debit cards in the car which were fraudulently used. The officer’s partner, who also testified in court, searched the defendant and found that credit and debit cards belonging to the victim were in Mr. Rangel’s pockets.
Drugs were also located near the scene of the crime. A bag of methamphetamine, weighing 5.3 grams, was found using the dash camera. Also, .6 gram of methamphetamine was located on Mr. Rangel’s person.
Personal belongings originating from the victim were located in a trash can near where the vehicle was parked, including photographs of pets and mail. A packaging of a holster was also located.
Deputy Public Defender Peter Borruso gave the closing remarks for the defense. He stated that there was no evidence Mr. Rangel was in Home Depot when the car was stolen, and Mr. Rangel testified he had no knowledge the vehicle was stolen.
The prosecution gave their closing remarks. They referenced that the short time between the car being reported stolen on April 8 and Mr. Rangel being located with it was reason for strong suspicion of purposeful theft. Mr. Rangel wearing a holster and discarding items in the vehicle belonging to the victim showed that he was aware of what he was doing. The credit and debit cards on his person also strengthened this suspicion.
The court ruled that there was strong suspicion for theft and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Mr. Rangel will be held to answer on all counts. His arraignment will be on June 7 at 10 AM in Department 13.