Man admits stealing Calif. chief’s gun left in bathroom

By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde Los Angeles Times

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — San Luis Obispo’s police chief will be getting her gun back after a man returned the firearm to authorities Thursday evening, police said.

Skeeter Carlos Mangan, 30, of Los Osos, Calif., took the weapon Chief Deanna Cantrell left in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco, authorities said.

In a news release, police said they received a call about the missing gun from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office about 7 p.m. Thursday. Deputies said Mangan’s brother-in-law said that Mangan had the gun and he would bring the man to a station to return it.

Mangan and his brother-in-law met deputies at a Los Osos sheriff’s station, where officials verified the firearm was Cantrell’s. Investigators with the San Luis Obispo Police Department arrived shortly after to speak with the man.

“During the interview, Mangan admitted to finding the firearm in the restroom at El Pollo Loco, putting it in his pocket and returning home to Los Osos,” police said.

In a video posted to the Police Department’s Facebook page, Cantrell apologized for leaving her gun behind after a lunch break Wednesday.

Cantrell said she removed her gun, which was in a holster, and placed it next to her while using the bathroom. She left, but says she realized her mistake “within minutes.”

When she returned to the restaurant, the gun was gone. The chief said she immediately reviewed video from the restaurant and saw that three people went into the bathroom after she did — Mangan, a boy and another man, police said.

“My actions were irresponsible and dangerous, and I’m so grateful that, after our preliminary investigation, a child didn’t find [the gun],” Cantrell said. “I was complacent, and that’s something you can never be with a firearm.”

The case will be submitted to the district attorney’s office for review, and Mangan may be charged with at least one count of being in possession of stolen property, according to Capt. Chris Staley, a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo Police Department.

Staley said he’s not aware of any disciplinary actions against Cantrell, but she’ll be attending training on firearms safety practices, authorities said.

©2019 the Los Angeles Times