ORANGE COUNTY VEHICLE THEFT
2011 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.
22nd Annual Awards Presentation Brunch
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 9:00 a.m. - The Irvine Marriott Hotel
|Those participating included:
Santa Ana Police Officer James Geist passed away on December 27, 2011. Officer Geist was the Santa Ana Police Department's nominee for five successive years from 1998 to 2002, and was named the Orange County Recovery Officer of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2002.
Westminster Police Officer Kenneth Pate passed on April 28, 2012. Officer Pate was the Westminster Police Department's nominee for 1998, 2004, and 2010.
Lieutenant Brents said that ATAC deeply mourned the loss of these two fine Officers, and wished to honor them by dedicating this ceremony in their memory.
Lieutenant Brents then introduced the Irvine Police Department Honor Guard who presented the United States and California flags on the front stage. Lieutenant Brents led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lieutenant Brents then introduced Orange County Sheriff's Department Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman who gave the invocation.
Lieutenant Brents 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 non-profit organization.
Lieutenant Brents spoke about the changes that took place in this year's selection process. Lieutenant Brents 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 Brents then introduced the Master of Ceremonies Pat Haslam. Mr. Haslam has been the voice of Orange County ATAC for the past 22 years. Mr. Haslam gave an opening address and then welcomed everyone to avail themselves of the breakfast buffet.
After the brunch, Pat Haslam then introduced Mr. Ted Saraf, Law Enforcement Liaison for LoJack Corporation (North Orange County / Los Angeles Area). Ted invited Efrain Quesada, Law Enforcement Liaison for LoJack (South Orange County / San Diego Area) to join him on the stage. Ted introduced Law Enforcement Liaison David Diaz who was seated in the audience. David works in Mexico and Ted said that David was responsible for hundreds of recoveries of vehicles stolen in the United States that make their way down to Mexico. Efrain and Ted 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. Quesada drew the ticket of Irvine Police Department Honor Guard member Scott Grange.
Pat Haslam introduced the Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Sheriff, Captains, Commanders, and dignitaries who were in attendance.
Pat Haslam then spoke about a person that the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee wished to recognize for all he has done to assist with obtaining Congressional recognition for the recipients of the award. He then requested Mr. Raul Luna, a Congressional Staffer for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of the 47th District of California to come to the stage. ATAC Chairperson Lieutenant Brents then made a presentation to Raul.
Pat Haslam then introduced the guest speaker, California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joseph Farrow. Commissioner Farrow spoke about how vehicle theft creates so many victims that most people are unaware of. He spoke about the thefts going down nationwide, however the cities with the most vehicles stolen (22% of the nation's total) are in California. Commissioner Farrow emphasized the importance of what the recipients of the ATAC Awards have done to help their communities in reducing auto theft.
Pat Haslam then announced the Orange County 2011 Recovery Officer of the Year Recipients as Lieutenant Glenda Brents, WSATI Southern Chapter President Tim Glover, and AAA Southern California SIU Manager Keith Levin presented the numerous award plaques and recognition certificates to each of the winners.
Orange County Automobile Dealers Association Executive Director Mr. John Sackrison made a presentation to the top five officers recognized during the awards presentation, a check for $200 in the name of the top five recipients for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club in their respective cities.
This year's recipients were (by agency):
|Anaheim Police Department||Officer Kevin Voorhis|
|Brea Police Department||Officer Richard Salcido|
|Buena Park Police Department||Officer Pedro Montez|
|California Highway Patrol - Capistrano Area||Officer Aaron Rothberg|
|California Highway Patrol - Santa Ana Area||Officer Jose Centeno|
|California Highway Patrol - Westminster Area||Officer Mark Linza|
|Cal State University Fullerton Police Department||No Department Nominee|
|Costa Mesa Police Department||Senior Officer Kevin Meng|
|Cypress Police Department||Officer Becky Mathias|
|Fountain Valley Police Department||Officer Brian Mosher|
|Fullerton Police Department||Corporal Eric Bridges|
|Garden Grove Police Department||Officer Mike Viscomi|
|Huntington Beach Police Department||Officer Rodney Besuzzi|
|Irvine Police Department||Officer William Hillyard|
|Laguna Beach Police Department||No Department Nominee|
|La Habra Police Department||Officer Jennifer Southern|
|La Palma Police Department||Officer Bo Kim|
|Los Alamitos Police Department||Corporal Michael Sistoni|
|Newport Beach Police Department||Officer William Hume|
|Orange County Sheriff's Department - North Operations||Deputy Trevor Taylor|
|Orange County Sheriff's Department - San Clemente||Deputy Lynette Johnson|
|Orange County Sheriff's Department - South Operations||Deputy Mark Northart|
|Orange County Sheriff's Department - West Operations||Deputy Issac Flores|
|Orange Police Department||Officer Cornelius Ungureanu|
|Placentia Police Department||Detective Randy McWilliams|
|Santa Ana Police Department||Officer Stephen Hahm|
|Seal Beach Police Department||Officer Brian Gray|
|Tustin Police Department||Officer Thomas Lomeli|
|University of California Irvine Police Department||No Department Nominee|
|Westminster Police Department||Officer Daniel McCarthy|
Each of the Officers and Deputies listed above were honored for recovering the most stolen vehicles at their agencies during 2011. In 2011, these 27 officers, representing almost every law enforcement agency in Orange County, arrested a total of 81 vehicle theft suspects, and recovered 224 vehicles exceeding a value of $1.7 million dollars!
The Top Five Honorees were:
Officer Kevin Voorhis of the Anaheim Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the most stolen vehicles throughout the entire county, 66 vehicles, including 14 "rolling stolens," resulting in 15 arrests. On February 13, 2011, Officer Voorhis was dispatched to a call of theft of license plates. An unknown suspect had removed the plates from the reporting party's vehicle and replaced them with two other license plates which were determined to belong on a stolen Mustang, with a named suspect. Officer Voorhis contacted the Cypress Police Department and obtained additional information on the stolen Mustang and the suspect who was found to be a parolee at large. Later in the day, Officer Voorhis located the stolen Mustang in an Anaheim motel parking lot. Officer Voorhis conducted surveillance on the stolen vehicle and eventually observed it driving out of the parking lot. Officer Voorhis, activated his patrol cares red/blue overhead lights, and, pulled his patrol car in front of the stolen Mustang to stop it. Officer Voorhis recognized the driver as the suspect listed in the Cypress Police report. The suspect, fled on foot and Officer Voorhis gave chase and subsequently apprehended the suspect. On June 26, 2011, Officer Voorhis observed a vehicle with no license plates parked in a parking lot on Magnolia Avenue. Officer Voorhis ran the VIN and it returned as a stolen vehicle. Officer Voorhis again conducted surveillance and observed the stolen vehicle drive out of the parking lot. With additional patrol officers’ assistance, a felony stop was conducted and the suspect was taken into custody. The suspect, who was booked, faced vehicle theft and drug charges. Officer Voorhis was the first runner-up in the 2010 ATAC Officer of the Year Awards. Unfortunately, Officer Voorhis was not able to join us for today's ceremony, as he is currently in the Northern California area for a Memorial Ceremony for his mother, who recently passed away. Deputy Chief Craig Hunter accepted the award on behalf of Officer Voorhis. Deputy Chief Hunter was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association. Anaheim Police Department Deputy Chief Craig Hunter was then called back 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 Daniel McCarthy of the Westminster Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the second most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 30 stolen vehicles, including 4 "rolling stolens," resulting in 6 arrests. While on patrol during one incident, Officer McCarthy observed the driver of a Toyota Camry who appeared nervous as the officer looked at the vehicle. The vehicle then failed to stop and made a right turn against a red light. Officer McCarthy initiated a vehicle stop and the Camry accelerated to 100 mph on the 405 freeway driving erratically for 4 miles. The driver eventually lost control of the car and crashed at the Seal Beach off-ramp. The male driver was on parole for burglary. Due to Officer McCarthy’s interrogation skills, he was able to obtain a confession from the driver, who was subsequently charged with 10851 of the Vehicle Code and several additional charges. Officer McCarthy was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.
Officer Pedro Montez of the Buena Park Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the third most stolen vehicles throughout the county, recovering 17 stolen vehicles, including 5 "rolling stolen," resulting in 9 arrests with an estimated recovery value of $92,000. Officer Montez’s commitment to recovering stolen vehicles is best exemplified in the following incident: On December 20th, 2011, Officer Montez observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. Officer Montez caught up to the vehicle and made traffic enforcement stop. A record check returned with “no hits” with a current registration. However, Officer Montez observed symptoms of illegal drug use. The driver stated she was “moving” the car for a friend. Officer Montez contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and requested a check on the residence and vehicle, which returned with negative results. Officer Montez not wanting to let two potential criminals slip away, continued his investigation and ultimately arrested the driver and passenger for drug related charges. The owner of the vehicle later came to the station to report his vehicle stolen. If not for Officer Montez’ instincts the two suspects surely would have gotten away in the victim's car. Officer Montez was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Buena Park, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.
Officer Mike Viscomi of the Garden Grove Police Department was honored as the Officer recovering the fourth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 7 stolen vehicles, including 5 "rolling stolens," resulting in 11 arrests. Included in this activity were the following noteworthy incidents: On April 6, 2011 at approximately 1:46 AM, a fellow Garden Grove officer had completed a theft report for a vehicle stolen in the city. At approximately 2:29 AM, Officer Viscomi located the vehicle being driven approx. 5 miles away. Officer Viscomi stopped the vehicle and arrested the suspect, who later pled guilty to vehicle theft. The vehicle had been located and suspect arrested within 45 minutes of its reported theft. On August 3, 2011, Officer Viscomi stopped a reported stolen vehicle and arrested two occupants. Based on Officer Viscomi’s subsequent investigation, probation and search warrants were conducted which resulted in the arrest of an additional person. The search also resulted in the recovery of a stolen semi-automatic pistol and the seizure of 2 ½ ounces of cocaine. Officer Viscomi was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.
Officer Stephen Hahm of the Santa Ana Department, was honored as the Officer recovering the fifth most stolen vehicles in the county, recovering 10 stolen vehicles, including 6 "rolling stolens," resulting in 10 arrests in 2011. Included in this activity, was an incident on November 24, 2011. Officer Hahm observed a vehicle occupied by four persons who appeared to be acting suspicious. Officer Hahm ran the plate which returned stolen out of the city of Anaheim. When Officer Hahm conducted a stop on the vehicle it pulled into a dead end parking lot alley. Officer Hahm ordered the suspects at gunpoint to keep their hands up. One suspect fled but was captured. All other suspects were also taken into custody. The suspects not only had outstanding traffic warrants, but were also in possession of multiple bags of methamphetamine, a switchblade knife and six types of generic automobile keys which appeared to be shaved. Officer Hahm’s observations and actions resulted in the arrest of multiple individuals for numerous charges. Officer Hahm was presented with a check for the Orange County Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana, by John Sackrison, Executive Director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association.
ATAC also recognized two additional officers for their efforts, presenting them with Honorable Mention plaques.
Fullerton Police Department Corporal Eric Bridges was recognized for his diligence. Officer Bridges recovered a total of 7 vehicles, including 2 "rolling stolen" vehicles in 2011, and arrested 2 suspects for vehicle theft. On October 30, 2011, Corporal Bridges pursued a stolen Toyota Tundra being driven by a parolee. The vehicle had been reported stolen in the neighboring City of Brea. The vehicle was eventually stopped and driver arrested. Once taken into custody, it was learned the suspect was on parole for an auto theft crime which had occurred in the city of Fullerton. He was also wanted for another separate vehicle theft stemming from the city of Fullerton. Corporal Bridges actions helped remove a career vehicle theft suspect from the streets.
CHP Westminster Officer Mark Linza was recognized for his diligence. Officer Linza recovered a total of 5 vehicles, including 4 "rolling stolen" vehicles in 2011, and arrested 4 suspects for vehicle theft. Included in this activity was an incident which occurred on November 8, 2011. Officer Linza was on patrol when he observed a red Toyota pickup traveling without any license plates or temporary registration. Officer Linza initiated an enforcement stop. The driver of the pickup then yielded to the right shoulder and Officer Linza contacted the driver. The driver handed him a driver’s license from Guatemala, a passport and a document that appeared to be a copy of the Toyota’s title. Officer Linza ran a check of the vehicle identification number through CHP dispatch. Dispatch advised Officer Linza that the VIN returned clear to an extra cab two-wheel drive out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Officer Linza noted that he was looking at a regular cab 4x4. Officer Linza then located the secondary VIN in the pickup and ran it through dispatch, which returned on a stolen vehicle. Officer Linza arrested the driver, transported him and later questioned him. During questioning, the driver admitted to Officer Linza that he flies to Los Angeles once a month to pick up stolen vehicles and drive them to Guatemala. The driver was eventually booked for vehicle theft as well as possession of a switchblade knife, which had been found next to the driver seat.
Lieutenant Brents then introduced and thanked the Orange County Auto Theft Advisory Committee members who put together the awards presentation; Mr. Dan Brogdon, Mr. Keith Levin, Ms. Martha Jones, and Ms. Geraldine Ward of the Automobile Club of Southern California; Ms. Diana Rummel, Beach Paving; Mr. Gustavo Cicarelli, and retired Sergeants Steve Reyes, and Dennis Frias of the California Highway Patrol, now the law enforcement liaison for both Locator Technologies and VINMonitor; Christina Van Voorhis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Mr. Ted Saraf and Mr. Ira Beaty, LoJack Corporation; Special Agent Mark Winter, National Insurance Crime Bureau; Mr. Tony Ko, Toyota Motor Credit. Lieutenant Brents also thanked 2012 President Tim Glover, 2012 Treasurer Aristeed Powell, Past President Gary Labb, of the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association, Southern Chapter, and 2012 President Heather Roberts, Orange County Auto Theft Investigators Association, for their continuing help and sponsorship of this event.
Lieutenant Brents then thanked the sponsors of this year's awards presentation, AAA Southern California, Beach Paving, CHP - Border Division, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Knapp & Spurlock LLP, Locator Technologies, LLC, LoJack Corporation, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Orange County Automobile Dealers Association, Orange County Auto Theft Investigators Association (OCATI), Toyota Financial Services, VINMonitor, and the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association (WSATI), Southern Chapter.
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.||National Insurance Crime Bureau|
|California Highway Patrol - Border Division||Orange County Auto Theft Investigators (OCATI)|
|Enterprise Rent-A-Car||Orange County Automobile Dealers Association|
|Knapp & Spurlock, LLP||Toyota / Lexus Financial Services|
|Locator Technologies, LLC||VINMonitor|