Cross-Examination in Alleged Car Theft Reveals Interesting Narrative

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By Amy Fullerton and Delilah Hammons

MERCED, CA – Witnesses in a Monday preliminary hearing in Merced County Superior Court testified about an car being allegedly stolen, with the victim claiming that her car was left in disarray when returned.

The defendant claimed that she purchased the alleged stolen vehicle for $600 the night before the traffic stop. In closing statements, counsel deemed the car’s true worth to be around $10,000 to $12,000, as it was a relatively “nice-looking car” and only had 70,000-80,000 miles on it.

The alleged victim claimed that the vehicle in question, a white 2016 Kia Rio, was returned to her with marijuana ashes found on the floor, missing plates, and items that did not belong to her. When the victim was questioned about drug use, the she asserted that she “does not do any drugs.”

After receiving a call from a civilian named Eric Lopez claiming the car in front of him had the same license plate as his car, Peace Officer William Avery initiated a traffic stop to talk to the defendant who was driving the apparent stolen vehicle.

As soon as the officer approached the vehicle, the defendant asked if the car was stolen. She claimed that she had just gotten a call from Steven Villaseñor, who sold her the car the night before.

In the cross-examination, Officer Avery explained that since there was no front license plate, he decided to run the VIN number for the car. After running the VIN number, it was found that the car was registered as stolen and that it was registered under the victim’s name.

After cuffing the defendant, the officer searched the car and found license plates on the floor in the backseat that belonged to the stolen car which did not match the back plate. The back license plate was registered to Eric Lopez, who originally called the police saying that another car had his plates. The license plates on the floor were registered to the victim, who is also the owner of the vehicle.

It was revealed that Lopez and Villaseñor reside in the same home, along with the fact that Villaseñor was wanted at the time. Lopez claimed to the officer that he had never seen the defendant before the traffic stop.

After witness testimonies and closing statements, the judge concluded by holding the defendant accountable to all charges put forth by the prosecution.

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About The Author

Amy is a junior at UCSB triple majoring in Psychology and Brain Sciences, Communication, and Political Science. She is from Redwood City, California.

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