Palm Springs man accused of stealing police chief’s car

(Riverside County District Attorney's office via Desert Sun)

A Palm Springs man was arrested Thursday morning after police say he stole the Chief of Police’s car, then pulled over a city employee with it.

Police Chief Bryan Reyes took his car into Rembrandt’s Paint & Body in November after it had been rear ended. William Menser, the manager at the shop, drove the vehicle home without permission and pulled over another vehicle with it, reports the Desert Sun.

Menser drove away without getting out of the car. The confused driver of the pulled-over vehicle turned out to be an employee of the city who noted the license plate, then linked the SUV to Reyes after running the plate through city records.

When questioned by investigators, Menser said that he took the SUV home so he could bring it to a Ford dealer the next morning to repair rear sensors that were broken. But, at some point, fixed them himself and decided to return the car to the repair shop – but not before going to Starbucks, putting several gallons of gas in the car, and getting the car washed.

Mesner, 26, was charged with auto theft and impersonating a police officer.  In 2014, Mesner pleaded guilty to car theft, burglary and grand theft after he stole a police car from the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy, according to the OC Register.

“It’s wacky,” Reyes told the newspaper. “Clearly, he should not be buying any lottery tickets any time soon – and you can quote me on that.”