LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A woman who stole an idling black and white police vehicle in Arleta in January was recently arrested in Las Vegas, Los Angeles police said Tuesday.
The LAPD vehicle was left idling and momentarily unattended on Jan. 31, during an investigation of an attempted assault with a deadly weapon and robbery suspect who had barricaded himself inside a house on the 10000 block of Vena Avenue. SWAT members were called in to help take suspect Jose Luis Cervantes into custody.
Police said Maria Erika Covarubias — a friend of Cervantes — got into the patrol car, drove off and left the vehicle three miles away in an attempt to “disrupt the ongoing tactical operation and provide a diversion that would allow Cervantes to escape capture,” according to a police press release.
The vehicle was found within half an hour, but the suspect was gone. Detectives later identified 25-year-old Covarubias as the suspect. She was located in Las Vegas and arrested on May 30.
She was extradited to California. The District Attorney’s Office filed one felony count of driving without the owners’ consent and is being held on $25,000 bail.
Cervantes was eventually taken into custody without incident. He was later convicted on multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon and robbery and is currently serving a 10-year sentence for his crimes.