1/5/18 – Palm Springs, CA – Man Takes Police Chief’s SUV From Body Shop And Impersonates Himself As Police Officer – Stops Vehicle – Mechanic Arrested
A California mechanic who worked as a manager at a local paint & body shop was arrested for allegedly stealing an unmarked Palm Springs police chief’s SUV that was being repaired for rear-end damage.
But wait there’s more…
It turns out the mechanic, 26-year-old William Menser, is also accused of using the stolen Ford Explorer to impersonate a police officer by pulling over a motorist who turned out to be a (suspicious) city employee, according to the Desert Sun.
The theft reportedly occurred back in November as the mechanic allegedly drove the vehicle home for the night without permission. On his way back to the repair shop in the morning, Menser is said to have “stopped at a car wash, put $10 worth of gasoline inside the tank and went to Starbucks.”
Officials say the mechanic then stopped a vehicle with the chief’s car, before “abruptly” driving away. The confused city employee who was pulled over took down the license plate and used city vehicle records to identify that the car belonged to the chief. Subsequently, the employee and his supervisor contacted the police department to report the bizarre incident.
After the suspect was arrested, he reportedly told law enforcement that he took the car home because “its rear sensors were broken and he wanted to bring it to a Ford dealership the next morning.” However, Menser claimed to have fixed the problem himself after all, and decided to bring it back to the body shop instead. The mechanic also told police “he felt obligated to put gas in the SUV after its fuel light came on.”
Menser was hit with a felony charge of embezzlement and one count of impersonating a peace officer, according to the local CBS affiliate WESQ.