San Luis Obispo police chief accused of coverup over stolen gun

July 25, 2019

Chief Deanna Cantrell

Clarification: The chief left her personal weapon, a Glock 42 which holds six rounds, in the restroom and not her department issued gun. Sean Greenwood called the SLO Police Department at 7 p.m. on July 11 to report he had the chief’s gun.


The search for the pistol that San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell lost in a bathroom stall resulted in an apparently illegal search of a home without a warrant and the arrest of a couple on charges of child neglect for having a messy house. And, new information points to Cantrell’s efforts to keep the news of her loss quiet despite her claim that she immediately reported the stolen gun. [Cal Coast Times]

Cantrell left her pistol, a Glock with a 6-round magazine, in the bathroom of an El Pollo Loco restaurant about noon on July 10. A short time later, Cantrell realized she did not have her weapon and returned to the restaurant bathroom. The pistol was not there.

In contrast to Cantrell’s claim that she immediately reported her gun stolen, several officers said her attempt to cover-up the theft of her gun risked officer safety and led to the search of the home of a man incorrectly identified as the person suspected of taking the chief’s gun.

Typically, after a loaded police firearm is stolen, a be on the lookout (BOLO) is put out to area law enforcement not only to help quickly recover the stolen weapon, but also to protect officer and public safety.

However, for the first two hours, Cantrell conducted the investigation into her stolen gun without reporting the theft. Cantrell checked surveillance footage at the restaurant and saw that three people had entered the restroom after her, two of whom were still in the restaurant and did not have her gun, Cantrell said.

Two hours after Cantrell discovered her gun was missing, she called police dispatch and asked police department employee Christine Steeb to call her back, cell phone to cell phone, in an apparent attempt to keep the call from being recorded, said a SLO police officer, who asked to remain anonymous to protect his employment. Steeb said the chief provided information about her lost gun on a non-recorded line because of issues with the city’s phone system.

“The call fell off so I called her back on my cell phone,” Steeb said.

A call of lost property is listed in the dispatch log at 2:09 p.m.

The last person, who was the first to enter the restroom after Cantrell left, was not in the restaurant when the chief returned to look for her firearm. The man, later identified as 30-year-old Skeeter Carlos Mangan of Los Osos, was shown in the video –  clean-shaven, balding and wearing a black jacket and shorts.

Shortly before 7 p.m., a group of five detectives were dispatched to a home on O’Connor Way after an officer said a man who lived in the home resembled the man in the video. However, the dispatch log shows the officers were sent to El Pollo Loco on Los Osos Valley Road for a lost property report.

The group of police drew the attention of a man living in the house with his wife and two children.

The man, who is not being identified by CalCoastNews, came out to ask the officers what was going on. The man had a full beard and mustache.

Skeeter Mangan

Even so, detectives Jason Dickel and Suzie Walsh told the man that they knew he had stolen the chief’s pistol and ordered him to tell them where it was, the man said. He told the officers he had been in Atascadero with his wife and two children at a medical appointment and that he had not been at El Pollo Loco in SLO.

The man’s wife and the couple’s two daughters also came out of the house and spoke with officers. The wife said she offered to call the doctor so he could confirm they were in Atascadero at the time the gun was stolen, but the detectives said no. The wife said she heard several officers noting her husband clearly was not the clean-shaven man seen in the video.

Walsh then asked the man if she could search his home. He asked if she had a warrant.

“Jason Dickel said I was on probation and he did not need a warrant,” the man said. “I told him I had court documents showing it was another family member who was on probation, but he did not want to see the documents. He said ‘you have the gun and we are going in to get it.’”

After the officers entered the house and kicked down the parents’ bedroom door, they arrested the man and his wife on charges of child neglect. The house was unclean, officers said, and they took the children into county custody. The girls, 7 and 9, remained in the police station until after 2 a.m. the next day, the man’s wife said.

In support of removing the children from their parents’ custody, Carrie Bailey, a county social worker, claimed a photograph taken in the parents’ bedroom of paraphernalia was taken in the children’s bedroom. When asked about the misstatement, Debra Barriger, a deputy county counsel, said the county is not permitted to disclose information about child custody issues.

At 7:30 p.m., more than seven hours after the chief’s gun was stolen. SLO police patrol officers were notified for the first time that the chief had lost her gun, a patrol officer said.

In contrast to Cantrell’s timeline, SLO County Sheriff Chief Deputy Aaron Nix said that between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 10, SLO Police Department employees requested the sheriff’s department assist them in finding the gun. A sheriff watch commander then asked why they had not informed area law enforcement through a BOLO alert, and gave SLO police dispatch a 30 minute window to send out an officer safety BOLO alert to area law enforcement.

“We inquired as to whether they intended to put out an Officer Safety BOLO,” Nix said. “SLOPD Dispatch advised they did intend to send out a BOLO and we offered to assist them in that regard. We told them we would re-contact them in about a half an hour to check on their progress, and we later confirmed they had in fact put out the BOLO.”

At approximately 7 p.m. on July 11, Mangan’s brother-in-law Sean Greenwood called the SLO Police Department to report he and Mangan had the chief’s gun, Greenwood said. Cantrell then sent officers to Los Osos to retrieve the firearm.

Following a two-day investigation, SLO City Manager Derek Johnson fined Cantrell $1,600 for violating city policy regarding keeping weapons concealed at all times. Johnson praised Cantrell for her “integrity throughout the incident.”


If I was a little further into my retirement and didn’t need my CCW I would walk into Costco and call and report I lost my sidearm in the store.

how long do you think it would take before Felony charges would be filed?

Shes a DIRTY ONE….


Now we know why the so called investigation was wrapped up so quick. We have an city inspector with an anger issue and he is still on paid vacatio… I mean leave for how many months? But this investigation is tied up in a nice bow in a few days. Couldn’t be an attempt to cover something up could it……..”Everyone just move on this issue has been taken care of” was likely what SLO City Manager Derek Johnson was trying to do, he likely knew what Chief Cantrell had done.


Police, especially the chief, should not be above the law and in fact held to a higher standard because of the power they wield. I whole heartedly support the police and am grateful for their service but this kind of thing is the reason so many do not trust them. Watch this family sue and we the taxpayers foot the bill because they should win.

Let’s clean it up. Thank you Cal Coast News for reporting this incident. If it is true, I hope it doesn’t end here.


Yea thanks CCN, you know the other papers will tow the official line like cowards


Those poor kids.

This is gonna end up costing the city more than $1600…I guarantee it.


This wont cost the city anything, it will cost the taxpayers a lot.


Watching Deanna’s video, above, is PAINFUL. She starts with, “I talk about transparency and having a relationship that’s built on trust with our community….”

You have been exposed, Deanna. GO AWAY.


And the plot thickens and to no ones surprise.

The gun was lost around noon at El Pollo Loco in SLO and it appears Cantrell immediately began her own investigation by reviewing surveillance footage and concluded that a clean shaven man was a likely suspect.

Approximately 7 hours later someone apparently thought the clean shaven man was in a residence on O’Connor Way in SLO and 5 SLO PD Nazi Storm Troopers showed up to retrieve the gun under any means to save the chiefs butt.

The not identified by CalCoast News clean shaven man had grown a full beard since noon that day (that chicken must do some crazy things to your body) was a victim of police clearly violating his rights in order for the means to justify the end. The unidentified man was later identified by CalCoast News as Cheyene.

The SLO County Sheriff’s office was notified of a lost firearm not until 8 hours later I presume so SLOPD could conduct their own internal illegal search and seizure of children in order to keep the whole thing under the radar.

And the kids were taken into protective custody around 7PM that evening and spent the night in the SLO Police Station and not released until 2 PM the next day according to this story.

But that’s a hell of a lot better than Karen Velie’s grand kids who were kept for months and months for the same offense of a ‘messy house’.

This very disturbing story is the true transparency of Chief Cantrell.


Lost service pistol…lost trust…lost respect…now she should lose her JOB!


Ain’t gonna happen…just get used to “IN YOUR FACE!” by corrupt local politicos.


Oh shit!

Cantrell lied to the public.

Cantrell lied to investigators.

Cantrell did not follow BOLO protocol.

Cantrell endangered other officers and the public.

Cantrell involved a dispatcher in the illegalities.

Cantrell spearheaded a conspiracy within the department.

Cantrell ordered an illegal search of a citizens home, which led to jack boot tactics.

Cantrell is responsible for the County taking children from their home to apply pressure on a suspect.

Cantrell tried to cover up her crimes.

Derek Johnson helped her.



You NAILED it!


The true definition of a ‘cluster – f….k”