A 23-year-old homeless man was arrested Wednesday for stealing a truck outside a Los Angeles-area police station immediately after being released, making it his third brush with the law in as many days because of a county policy that releases suspects accused of non-violent low-level felonies and misdemeanors without bail.
All the arrests occurred in Glendale, located 8 miles from downtown Los Angeles.
The alleged crime spree began at 9:45 p.m. Monday when Glendale police officers spotted Kaelun Scharrer in a vehicle that had been reported stolen in the city of Upland, 38 miles east of the city. Scharrer and a passenger inside were detained. Inside the vehicle, officers found a methamphetamine pipe, police said.
Kaelun Scharrer, 23, was arrested three times in as many days because of a zero-bail schdule, authorities said. (Glendale Police Department)
Scharrer was arrested for vehicle theft and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was released six hours later under the county’s “Zero-Dollar” bail schedule and given a notice to appear in court, police said.
The next day, three hours after he was released from police custody, Scharrer was arrested for allegedly stealing money from a tip jar. Officers were initiated called to The Americana at Brand shopping complex over reports that a man slapped the side view mirror of a vehicle.
The person who made the call appeared to not want to take the report any further, police said.
“Scharrer was advised that the Americana was banning him from their property and if he returned he would be arrested for trespassing,” according to Glendale police.
“He returned 45 minutes later and allegedly stole the tip money and fled on foot. He was caught and arrested on suspicion of trespassing,” the department added.
When he was released from the jail around 6 a.m. Wednesday, Scharrer stole a flatbed truck parked directly in front of the police station, authorities said.
The vehicle was running with the keys in the ignition and the driver, who saw Scharrer flee in the truck, was delivering a dumpster across the street, police said. The driver called the police and the vehicle was located because it was equipped with a GPS device. The vehicle was recovered in the city of La Verne.
Scharrer was detained during a traffic stop and was taken back to jail. He is being held on $25,000 bail.
The zero-dollar bail schedule was enacted amid an effort to reduce the jail population during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, Michel Moore, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, said crimes like car theft went up after the zero-dollar bail policy was enacted.
“It’s created an atmosphere in the community that offenders believe is an opportunity to capitalize,” he said during an interview with KTLA-TV Thursday. “Those that we’re arresting we’re finding are being re-arrested time and time again and it’s a zero bail.”
Over the past year, the LAPD has arrested more than 350 people who allegedly committed crimes while out on bail or zero bail, he said.