A Huntington Park man was charged in four separate felony cases for allegedly stealing more than a dozen cars in the Los Angeles area, officials said Tuesday.
Jose Enrique Esquivel, aka Jose Esquibel, 24, faces a total of 14 felony counts for car thefts that occured between March and June, according to a Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office news release. He is charged with 11 counts of driving or taking a vehicle without consent and with one count of second-degree burglary of a vehicle.
Esquivel was arrested and released at least 11 times between April 28 and June 15, officials said.
On March 30, he was arrested for allegedly driving a stolen truck and was subsequently released under the COVID-19 emergency bail system, the DA’s office said.
Bail was set to $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felonies in L.A. County to reduce the local prison population amid the coronavirus pandemic. Esquivel was accused of exploiting the modified bail schedule during his crime series, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said.
He was charged with one count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent for the March 30 incident.
Esquivel was arrested multiple times for either driving, or attempting to steal, a truck and was subsequently released, on April 28, May 8, twice on May 14, May 20, May 23, May 27, June 6, June 8, June 13 and June 15, officials said.
On June 23, he was arrested again for allegedly stealing another truck but was held on bail because the emergency bail schedule had ended, the DA’s office said. He was then charged with one count of driving or taking a vehicle without consent.
The victims of the known thefts reside in southeast Los Angeles County, including the city of L.A., the Sheriff’s Department said, adding that those who were victimized had modest incomes and most depended on the vehicles as their sole means of transportation.
Esquivel pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to return to court on July 27. Bail is set at $550,000.
The felony complaints include allegations that Esquivel committed most of the crimes while out on his own recognizance and was previously convicted of driving or taking a vehicle without consent twice in 2017 and once in both 2018 and 2019, the DA’s office said.
Police ask anyone who believes they may be an additional victim to call the Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention at 800-299-8727.