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.

By KAREN VELIE

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.”


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kettle

So they show up looking for a clean shaven suspect, this guy has a beard? And then they crush the family instantly changing their lives forever.


Whomever was in charge of the o’connor way team is either completely incompetent or a corrupt cop making the rank and file look bad.


As a SLO property owner I want to know how much this costing us, where is the leadership?


womanwhohasbeenthere

There IS no leadership on behalf of residents/taxpayers, but I guarantee there will be settlements. SLO is self-insured in an arrangement with a few other cities, and they have a clams adjuster who pursues a settlement in cases like this. The money comes from SLO city taxpayers and the taxpayers in these other communities.


But we could save some big bucks and bring back some sanity if we fired these idiots, but because she is female, Cantrell will not be let go; ditto the social worker; and if the implications about Derek Johnson’s sexual orientation are true, he won’t be fired either. SLO city values diversity over competence. In this day and age of political correctness, there is no way to fire someone for messing up: “They just have a different perspective on how to do their jobs, all ideas are good, we learn from one another, collaboration is king,” etc.


Jon Tatro

So as a retired police officer who is well aware of cover ups by a an administration I think the Chief went into full on cover her ass mode. If as reported the couple was contacted under false pretenses the charges will be dropped and they will have a civil case. As for Karen’s safety, don’t be ridiculous people. The officers aren’t some hired goons for a chief who is on the way out.


kettle

” If as reported the couple was contacted under false pretenses the charges will be dropped”


Do the right thing? Lol only if they have a good lawyer.


PaulJones

Will those in power do the right thing or will they double down? It is clear this was a bad entry into the family’s home, and the rule is evidence of the poisonous tree is non-admissible. Even if the family’s house was dirty enough to take the children from their parents, it does not count because it is fruit of the poisonous tree, a bad entry into the home.


Will they admit a wrongful entry, or will officers like Suzie Walsh, known for lying and violating rules to take children, work with county social workers and prosecutors to fabricate a case.


In most of Europe, the government helps families with dirty houses to clean things up instead of spending hundreds of thousands in tax payer dollars to place the children with often abusive or uncaring foster parents.


A great attorney needs to help this family, because I doubt those in power will do the right thing.


womanwhohasbeenthere

Could someone please start a GoFundMe account so this family can hire a competent lawyer?


charger805

I would think if they contacted any attorney that they would take this case without a retainer. It’s an easy payday. I wouldn’t be surprised if attorneys aren’t already contacting them. I hope they get fantastic representation and hit the motherlode. I am not a fan of frivolous lawsuits but in this instance I’m all for it.


Julie

The coverup is (almost) always worse than the crime.


horse_soldier

Get the checkbook out SLO, this one is going to cost you big time.


oldtimer

Holy heck what a tradgedy for that family. If everyone here contacts our local districts and county reps, things will get done…i hope. This isn’t 19060s Chicago. Wow. And for Slo Mayor to call concerned citizens internet bullies….Wowzer And agreed with Harry statement below too. If Slo Cops did all of this, who knows what all Local PD can and will do. Look at Paso, and Atascadero, horrible Officers.


HarryMalone

Folks,

Let’s all pray fro Karen Velie’s safety… and I’m dead serious.


She has poked the bear/s and these bears have guns with 21 round magazines.


And their ‘we don’t need no stinking search warrant’ jack boot attitude leaves no one safe, including children!


Don’t be surprised if an ‘unfortunate accident’ is being planned because after all it’s not just SLOPD that might have an axe to grind.


Retaliation is nothing new to Velie, I just hope and pray this time ‘they’ don’t up the ante.


TKG

AMEN!


Wildrnes

Hah!


SLOInd

What an idiotic comment


HarryMalone

SLOind,

I truly want to know what you find idiotic about praying for Velie’s well being.

It’s not the first time an enthusiastic journalist has paid dearly for exposing the truth.

Unless you are part of ‘they’ promoting a smokescreen cover in advance.

You need to speak up or shut up.


laftch

The only salvation for a free society is the sanitizing light of the truth which is under unremitting attack. Entities that speak truth to power have always been threatened with destruction. That is why I support CCN. Please keep at it CCN. The hallmark of patriotism.


Wildrnes

Prayer? What’s next crystals and an astrology chart?


tosmon

Is there something you aren’t telling us?


sbjcl

This a direct slap in the face of the good cops that work in our community. Rousting the couple in the house for no good reason, then arresting them for bad housekeeping and scaring the hell out of those poor kids is despicable .Carrie Bailey is an outright liar. Lying Cantrell and her goon squad need to be fired immediately. The city manager has proven what a bozo he is and also needs to go. The council instead of worrying about statues needs to take action NOW.


Nightrider

If True,

How can The Government out gun Citizens?

That is the 2ND Amendment Period,

21 Round Magazine versus 10 for Joe Public?

Lost Pistol, no BOLO?

$1500 dollar fine?

How come it wasn’t at least a two week suspension?

Lucy, you got some splaning to do,

The city Leaders have a lot of this grief too.

Can’t wait for the National press to report on this one,

Oops, I forgot, they won’t report the Truth,

SLO is a Shithole.


womanwhohasbeenthere

Deanna, GIT YER GUN!