AUTO THEFT ADVISORY COMMITTEE (A.T.A.C.)
ORANGE COUNTY VEHICLE THEFT
2009 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR AWARDS PRESENTATION BRUNCH
Sponsored by the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee (A.T.A.C.), a partnership between law enforcement, insurance, and other auto related companies to reduce auto theft. A.T.A.C. is a subcommittee of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter.

20th Annual Awards Presentation Brunch

Thursday, June 24, 2010 9:00 a.m. - The Irvine Marriott Hotel

Those participating included:
Pledge of Allegiance: Irvine Police Department Honor Guard
  Lieutenant Matt Guthrie, CHP Border Auto Theft
Invocation: Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman, Orange County Sheriff's Department
Introduction: Lieutenant Matt Guthrie, CHP Border Auto Theft
Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Pat Haslam, Real Orange KOCE-TV Public Television 
Guest Speaker:  District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, Orange County District Attorney's
Presentation of Awards: Lieutenant Matt Guthrie, CHP Border Auto Theft
  Mr. Dennis Frias, Consolidated Fraud Group / OCRA
  Sergeant Steve Reyes, CHP Border CTIP
Special Presentation: Mr. John Sackrison, Executive Director Orange County Automobile Dealers Assn.
Mr. Ted Saraf, LoJack Corporation

Irvine Police Department Honor Guard Presenting the ColorsIrvine Police Department Honor Guard Presenting the ColorsATAC Chairperson CHP Border Lieutenant Matt Guthrie introduced the Irvine Police Department Honor Guard who presented the United States and California flags on the front stage.  Lieutenant Guthrie led the Pledge of Allegiance. 

Lieutenant Guthrie then introduced Orange County Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman who gave the invocation.

Lieutenant Guthrie then explained that ATAC was a subcommittee of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators (WSATI) Association, allowing ATAC to provide donors with the benefits of a tax free organization.

Lieutenant Guthrie spoke about the changes that took place in this year's selection process.  Lieutenant Guthrie said that significant pro-active contributions by officers to reduce auto theft, combined with a higher emphasis on "rolling stolens" and significant case highlights were the elements of the criteria to be considered. 

Lieutenant Guthrie then introduced the Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam.  Mr. Haslam has been the voice of Orange County ATAC for the past 20 years.  Mr. Haslam gave an opening address and then welcomed everyone to avail themselves of the breakfast buffet.

ATAC Chairman Lieutenant Matt GuthrieAfter the brunch, Pat Haslam introduced the Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Sheriff, Captains, Commanders, and dignitaries who were in attendance. 

Guest Speaker Orange County District Attorney Tony RackauckasPat Haslam then introduced the guest speaker, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, who spoke about the use of DNA evidence in helping to reduce vehicle theft in Orange County. 

Pat Haslam then introduced Mr. Ted Saraf, Law Enforcement Liaison for LoJack Corporation, who conducted the drawing of tickets for a LoJack Security unit.  LoJack donated a LoJack tracking unit to A.T.A.C. to be given as a door prize for attending the event.  Mr. Saraf drew the ticket of Cypress Police Department Officer Andrew Sanchez.

Master of Ceremonies Pat HaslamPat Haslam then announced the Orange County 2009 Recovery Officer of the Year Recipients as Lieutenant Guthrie presented the numerous award plaques and recognition certificates to each of the winners.

Orange County Automobile Dealers Association Executive Director Mr. John Sackrison was then called to the stage to make a presentation to the top five officers recognized during the awards presentation. 

This year's recipients were (by agency):

ORANGE COUNTY 2009 RECOVERY OFFICER OF THE YEAR RECIPIENTS:

Anaheim Police Department Officer Randy Sany
Brea Police Department No Department Nominee
Buena Park Police Department Officer Steve Yakubovsky
California Highway Patrol - Capistrano Area Officer Lisa Spreeman
California Highway Patrol - Santa Ana Area Officer Scott Dagenais
California Highway Patrol - Westminster Area Officer Sean Taketa
Cal State Fullerton Police Department Officer Matt Bauer
Costa Mesa Police Department Officer Andres Sepulveda
Cypress Police Department Officer Andrew Sanchez
Fountain Valley Police Department Officer Ron Varner
Fullerton Police Department Corporal Eric Bridges
Garden Grove Police Department Officer Kevin Dinh
Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Greg Reese
Irvine Police Department Officer Phillip Walsh
Laguna Beach Police Department No Department Nominee
La Habra Police Department Officer Jim Geer
La Palma Police Department Officer Bo Kim
Los Alamitos Police Department Officer Dan Brandt
Los Alamitos Police Department Officer Brad Fernandes
Newport Beach Police Department Officer Gary Clemente
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Mission Viejo Deputy Mihail Danciulescu
Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Deputy Timothy Kozma
Orange County Sheriff's Department - Stanton Deputy Trent Hoffman
Orange Police Department Officer Jimmy Phan
Placentia Police Department Officer Randy McWilliams
Santa Ana Police Department Officer Scott Fahrney
Seal Beach Police Department Officer Al Cabrera
Tustin Police Department No Department Nominee
Westminster Police Department Officer Dan McCarthy
Each of the Officers and Deputies listed above were honored for recovering the most stolen vehicles at their agencies during 2009.  Combined, these officers recovered 204 vehicles in 2009, valued at over $1,450,419.00 and arrested 61 people.

The Top Five Honorees were:

Officer Steve Yakubovsky of the Buena Park Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the most stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 29 vehicles, including 6 "rolling stolens," resulting in 10 arrests, with a recovery value of approximately $235,000.00.  Officer Yakubovsky has been with Buena Park Police Department for 10 years.  Officer Yakubovsky has previously been presented the CHP 10851 Award on several occasions.  Officer Yakubovsky led the Buena Park Police Department in the recovery of stolen vehicles in 2009.  Officer Yakubovsky was presented with a check for his designated charity, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.  Buena Park Police Department Captain Cory Sianez was then called to the podium to receive the Perpetual Winner's Award that goes to the Top Officer's Department to be displayed until next year's Awards Ceremony.

Officer Randy Sany of the Anaheim Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the second most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 18 stolen vehicles, including 6 "rolling stolens," resulting in 7 arrests.  On July 2, 2009, Officer Sany observed a stolen Honda Accord being driven through a high crime area.  Officer Sany made a U-turn to catch up to the vehicle as it pulled into a parking lot.  As he pulled into the lot he saw the vehicle was no longer occupied.  Officer Sany set up a surveillance on the stolen vehicle, and a short time later a male returned to the vehicle and began to drive away.  The suspect was stopped and arrested and found to be a parolee-at-large.  On October 24, 2009, Officer Sany located a Lexus with paper dealer plates, parked in a motel parking lot.  He checked the VIN of the vehicle and found it had been stolen from the scene of a double homicide in Stanton.  Officer Sany set up a surveillance of the vehicle until Detectives arrived.  Due to Officer Sany locating the vehicle, Detectives were able to locate and arrest the double murder suspect and later recover the handgun used in the crime.  Officer Sany will be presented with a check for his designated charity, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Scott Fahrney of the Santa Ana Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the third (tie) most stolen vehicles throughout the county, recovering 29 stolen vehicles, including 1 "rolling stolen," resulting in 3 arrests.  Officer Fahrney has been with the department for approximately 18 months and led the entire Santa Ana Police Department in vehicle theft recoveries in 2009. Officer Fahrney is known to combine his understanding of areas where cars are stolen with known locations where stolen vehicles are abandoned; to effectively address the vehicle theft problem in the city of Santa Ana.  Officer Fahrney was presented with a check for his designated charity, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Deputy Trent Hoffman of the Orange County Sheriff's Department was honored as the Officer recovering the fourth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 15 stolen vehicles, including 3 "rolling stolens," resulting in 2 arrests.  On December 30, 2009 at 0313 hours, Deputy Hoffman responded to a hit and run collision, which occurred in a known gang area.  Upon arrival, the driver fled the scene on foot.  Deputy Hoffman quickly determined the vehicle was an unreported stolen vehicle.  As he was checking the area, he discovered another vehicle that had just crashed about 1/4 mile away from the original scene.  Deputy Hoffman subsequently learned that this was another unreported stolen vehicle, which had been driven into the area by a juvenile to pick up the suspect from the original incident.  Through Deputy Hoffman's investigation, he was able to identify all three involved suspects and was able to take the juvenile into custody the same day.  Deputy Hoffman has already started 2010 on a pace of recoveries to double his numbers in 2009.  Deputy Hoffman was presented with a check for his designated charity, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Stanton, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

Officer Sean Taketa of the CHP - Westminster Area, was honored as the Officer recovering the fifth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 11 stolen vehicles, including 4 "rolling stolens," resulting in 4 arrests.  3 of which were occupied.  On February 12, 2009, Officer Taketa was on the SR-22 Freeway when he observed a motorcycle pass him at approximately 95 mph.  Although the motorcyclist was splitting traffic and continuing at a high speed, Officer Taketa, with the assistance of other CHP personnel, was able to make an enforcement stop on the motorcyclist.  The motorcyclist provided his driver's license and matching ownership documents for his 2006 Yamaha.  Despite the registration paperwork matching the license plate of the motorcycle, Officer Taketa checked the VIN and found that it appeared to have been altered.  Officer Taketa ran the true VIN through dispatch and found the motorcycle had been reported stolen in Corona.  Further investigation of the suspect by Officer Taketa and CHP ISU personnel, led to the recovery of two additional stolen motorcycles, one motorcycle engine and one motorcycle frame. Officer Taketa was presented with a check for his designated charity, the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. 

L-R: Officer Sean Taketa, Deputy Trent Hoffman, Officer Steve Yakubovsky, Officer Scott Fahrney, Officer Randy Sany, Mr. John Sackrison

ATAC also recognized four additional officers for their efforts, presenting them with Honorable Mention plaques.

CHP - Capistrano Area Officer Lisa Spreeman was recognized for her diligence.  She handled two separate incidents in 2009 involving stolen vehicles which had not yet been reported stolen.  Spreeman was able to arrest the suspects involved and was successful in the prosecution of the suspects for vehicle theft charges.  In one case, Officer Spreeman responded to a multiple vehicle injury collision involving an impaired driver who had fled the scene of the collision.  During the investigation, Spreeman was successful in locating the hit and run driver and established he was under the influence of drugs.  Spreeman found a wallet for another individual in the suspect vehicle and upon making telephone contact with that individual, found that he was registered owner of the Lexus and that vehicle was in fact an unreported stolen.  The suspect was charged with violations of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, felony hit and run, and DUI.

Orange County Sheriff's Department - Mission Viejo Deputy Mihail Danciulescu was recognized for his diligence.  Deputy Danciulescu was driving in Laguna Hills and noticed a 1998 Chevy Astro van with a paper plate on the rear.  He checked the vehicle from another angle and determined there was no front plate, and no temporary operating permit.  The male driver appeared nervous as Deputy Danciulescu checked out the vehicle.  He pulled in behind the van and activated his emergency lights.  The van slowed momentarily before accelerating away.  The van entered the I-5 Freeway, slowing down only enough to enter the onramp.  The van accelerated to over 100 mph, swerving in and out of traffic.  Deputy Danciulescu slowed fearing an accident and at that moment the van blew a tire, crashing into the concrete retaining wall.  The driver exited the van and ran.  Deputy Danciulescu advised responding units of the suspect's last known location and direction of travel.  The suspect was eventually captured, muddy and tired, hiding within the perimeter.  The van was identified as a stolen vehicle from Los Angeles, and had a fresh stolen motorcycle inside from Aliso Viejo.  There were license plates from three other stolen motorcycles lying on the floor inside the van.  Sheriff's Auto Theft Bureau Investigators were contacted, as well as the Orange County Auto Theft Task Force, to continue the investigation jointly.  The pursuit and arrest by Deputy Danciulescu that morning, led to a search warrant at an active motorcycle chop shop in East Los Angeles.  The chp shop was run by and for the profits of, an East Los Angeles street gang.  The total number of stolen vehicles or major components identified as belonging to active stolen motorcycles was 12, including the stolen van.  Fingerprints linked 8 suspects to the chop shop, and 4 were formally charged with a multitude of vehicle theft and gang conspiracy counts.  All suspects had gang, weapons, and narcotics priors.  Thanks to the diligence of Deputy Danciulescu, an active chop shop was taken out of commission, resulting in the arrest of a dangerous group of felons involved in a very lucrative criminal enterprise.

Newport Beach Police Department Officer Gary Clemente was recognized for his diligence.  Officer Clemente made a routine traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle at 0425 hours.  Based on the driver's suspicious nature and evasive response to routine questions, Officer Clemente gained probable cause to search the vehicle.  Clemente found the vehicle had been cold plated and attempts had been made to conceal the VIN.  Officer Clemente also located a stolen handgun wedged next to the driver's seat, and within easy access to the driver.  Officer Clemente also located property that had been stolen from victims in the following states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, and Alabama.  In all, the driver was responsible for 11 separate victims.

Huntington Beach Police Department Officer Greg Reese was recognized for his diligence.  Members of Bally's Total Fitness were having their keys stolen after leaving them unattended in the locker room.  The victims then found their vehicles had been stolen, and then were found in the immediate area , and items were taken from the vehicles.  Officer Reese was able to obtain a copy of the video surveillance from the parking structure, which he reviewed and showed to some employees.  One of the employees saw a person who she thought looked like the suspect in the video, enter the gym and walk to the locker room.  She called the police.  Officer Reese immediately responded back to Bally's, along with undercover officers, and set up a surveillance around the parking structure, while the employee kept Officer Reese apprised of the suspect's whereabouts within the gym.  After the suspect exited the gym and drove away, he was followed by officers and stopped.  Officer Reese arrested him and brought him to the station and conducted an interview.  Officer Reese disproved the suspect's account of what occurred, culminating in the suspect admitting to going into Huntington Beach Bally's Fitness on 3 separate occasions.  He watched the victims leave their keys and belongs in the locker room area, then stole their cars.  He admitted he would drive the vehicles away from the immediate area to avoid detection and proceed to burglarize the vehicles.  The suspect, who was a delivery driver, had a Bally's membership and frequented numerous Bally's Centers in many different cities during his lunchtime.  Thanks to Officer Reese's diligence, three stolen vehicle cases were cleared from this one arrest, as well as other potential victims being spared as the crime spree was quashed.

Lieutenant Guthrie then introduced and thanked the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee members who put together the awards presentation; Mr. Dan Brogdon, Ms. Martha Jones Joseph, and Ms. Geraldine Gary of the Automobile Club of Southern California; Ms. Diana Rummel, Beach Paving; Mr. Gustavo Cicarelli and Sergeant Steve Reyes of the California Highway Patrol; Special Agent Mark Winter, National Insurance Crime Bureau; Mr. Tony Ko, Toyota Motor Credit; Mr. Ted Saraf, LoJack Corporation;Mr.  Dennis Frias, Consolidated Fraud Group.  Lieutenant Guthrie also thanked Past President Gary Labb and President John Bartolone of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter, for their continuing help and sponsorship of this event. 

Lieutenant Guthrie then thanked the sponsors of this year's awards presentation, AAA Southern California, SIU Manager Dan Brogdon; Beach Paving, Ms. Diana Rummel; CHP - Border Division, Chief Steve Beeuswaert; Consolidated Fraud Group, Mr. Dennis Frias; LoJack Corporation, Law Enforcement Liaison Ted Saraf; Orange County Automobile Dealers Association, Executive Director John Sackrison; Toyota Financial Services, Fraud Unit Supervisor Anthony Ko; Vigilant Video LPR Systems, Mr. Randy Robinson; and the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter, President John Bartolone

Lieutenant Guthrie made a special thank you to retired CHP FEAR Sergeant Dennis Frias.  Lieutenant Guthrie said that Dennis was instrumental in making sure that the 20th Annual Orange County ATAC Awards program took place.  Lieutenant Guthrie was on the verge of canceling the event because CHP personnel did not have the time to go forward with the program.  He said that Dennis stepped forward and said that the program had to go on to honor the Orange County officers and that Dennis took over the helm of the ATAC Awards.

Dennis Frias and Matt Guthrie
For Photos from the Awards Ceremony Click Here

Special thanks go to the following organizations and businesses for participating in and sponsoring Orange County's Auto Theft Advisory Committee and its Officers of the Year Program:
Automobile Club of Southern California LoJack Corporation
Beach Paving, Inc. Orange County Auto Dealers Association
California Highway Patrol Border Division Toyota/Lexus Financial Services
Consolidated Fraud Group Vigilant Video LPR Systems
Western States Auto Theft Investigators, Southern Chapter

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