No charges against man who took SLO police chief’s gun

August 18, 2019

Skeeter Mangan

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow has decided not to file charges against the man who found SLO Police Chief Deanna Cantrell’s firearm on a toilet paper holder in El Pollo Loco and then turned it over to police the following day, Dow announced on Saturday. [Cal Coast Times]

After officers collected the gun, they thanked Skeeter Mangan and his brother-in-law Sean Greenwood, and said they did not plan to charge Mangan based on Penal Code 485, Greenwood said. But shortly after Mangan returned the firearm, the city issued a press release that said he was a suspect in the theft of the chief’s firearm.

In his announcement, Dow wrote that even though there was enough evidence to support a misdemeanor charge of Penal Code section 485 because Mangan did not immediately attempt to return the gun, he had selected not to proceed with criminal charges.

“After thoroughly considering all the circumstances, I have concluded that it would not be in the interest of justice to charge Mr. Mangan with a crime,” Dow wrote.

According to Penal Code 485, a person is guilty of theft if they find property, and appropriate the property for their own use, “without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to the owner.”

In his press release, Dow credits Greenwood for the return of the gun.

“Mr. Greenwood’s actions enabled the quick recovery of this lost firearm and prevented any further harm to come from this unfortunate situation,” Dow wrote. “It is my sincere hope that Mr. Mangan and other members of our community have learned from this widely publicized situation that failure to take immediate steps to find the rightful owner of lost property is a crime of theft under California law.”

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“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal.”~ Frederic Bastiat

Wow- where to begin with all this? The ineptitude and dishonesty of local law enforcement, the cowardice of government administrative officials, the pathetic procrastination of the District Attorney…. it just goes on and on and on.

“It is my sincere hope that Mr. Mangan and other members of our community have learned from this widely publicized situation…” (District Attorney Dan Dow). Wow- what an insulting, ignorant, arrogant statement from the district attorney who took the better part of a month to concur with what all the rest of us saw IMMEDIATELY.

Hey, Dow-boy, tell us this: just what the Hell have YOU learned from “this situation”? And that is not a rhetorical question- I truly want to know what, if anything, YOU have learned from “this situation,” and I herewith challenge you to publicly answer that question and demand that you do so. The handful of attempts in the comments on this CCN article to “congratulate” or “thank” Dow for his “action” are, at best, badly misplaced. Dow fiddled while Skeeter Mangan, Cheyne Orndoff and Vanessa Bedroni were painfully twisting in the wind. Ultimately, Dow was forced to do “the right thing” by overwhelming public response and outrage.

Tell us, Danny boy- what have you learned? The public deserves an answer from you.

Oh, also- just know, Dow, that as far as your political future goes, you are as done as disco. And a side note to the local Republican Party organization (if, indeed, there even is such a thing), just know that if you slate and endorse Dow for re-election, he may drag down the whole rest of your ballot slate with him. The best thing that Dow could do now is to publicly answer that question above, publicly apologize for his mishandling of “this situation”, and immediately resign.

Oh, and a side note to Tim Covello- don’t you dare think that this is a good opportunity for you to run for D.A. again, whether Dow runs again or not. Your “half-nice” ruling on “allowing” Orndoff and Bedroni to “visit” with their own children was condescendingly arrogant at best. For the voters of SLO County to have to choose between Dow and Covello for D.A. again would be a cruel and unusual electoral “Sophie’s Choice” for the ages.

In closing, let’s contemplate for a moment, what all of us actually have learned from “this situation.” What we’ve learned is that government at all levels- local, state and federal- cannot be trusted to do “the right thing.” They have to be forced to do the right thing. And, as citizens, it is our obligation in this fragile representative democracy/constitutional republic to do so, whatever the means and whatever the costs.

“Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” (Samuel Adams).

Mr. Dow, thanks for doing what you have done as the first step to end this madness…

Dan Dow goes after the sick and mentally ill all the time, in cases he does not need to bring. Then in corruption cases or anything dealing with law enforcement, he looks the other way. We are a seriously lawless county largely because of Dan Dow. Justice is supposed to be blind not obsessed with their political future. In this case, it was the public outrage that made a change, not the ethics or integrity of Dan Dow.

Agreed, we all know Dan Dow has no ethics or ethics. Otherwise he would charge Chief Cantrell.

Dan Dow is a good man, I personally know Dan, he’s a veteran, supports our troops, men & women in uniform, he is from my home State of Maine. He’s the best district attorney we’ve had in a long time. Regardless of his decision, I know Dan as a good friend.

I upvoted you, oxuniv, because I admire loyalty even misplaced — Dow may be a good man, a veteran who “supports our troops, men and women in uniform,” he may even be from the Great State of Maine like yourself, we poor miserable native Californians and fellow native Westerners are SO LUCKY to have so many Easterners, Southerners, and MidWesterners to help us poor hicks manage this state that our grandparents made so many sacrifices to pioneer and keep ….

… I am CERTAIN Dan Dow is a good man because so many people I love and respect, love and respect him … but Dow is a PISS POOR law enforcer if all he does when the city police chief forgets and leaves her loaded gun in a public restroom and consequently uses a posse of law-ignoring toadies to turn at least five lives upside down, not to mention a dog’s …

… is to patronize people with a little statement on how he hopes everyone has learned from this, that not to return something valuable right away is the same as “stealing” it.

Thanks for all the fish, now go back to Maine. Please.


Someone seems to be manipulating the CCN comment voting system.

Perfect example- the original post here by oxforduniversity and the reply by FinfreAk. For the original post to all of a sudden receive 63 “up” votes and the FinfreAk reply to receive 70 “down” votes- basically overnight- is highly suspicious and should raise a whole parade of red flags.

I don’t know if you have any way to investigate what is happening with your comment voting system, but I sure hope that you can and that you do. Voting manipulation can have a deleterious impact on the integrity of CCN and destroy public confidence in your comment voting system and in the comfort of readers to post comments at all.

But, then, that may be exactly what the manipulators are seeking to do.

You have to investigate this. And take action- soon.

” deleterious impact on the integrity of CCN and destroy public confidence ”

No the comment voting is not scientific and no one should make any assumptions based on a “vote” count.

“is highly suspicious ” no that’s you misunderstanding what comment voting is about and how it works. You don’t need to have an account to vote and these articles have received a lot of attention so plenty of votes.

“What’ve you got?” Chip shoved a box of donuts toward Mike and John as they settled at the table.

“It’s a 21st Century Mayberry show, real politically incorrect,” Mike grinned slyly. “The police chief leaves a loaded Glock in the john at a restaurant, forgets all about it, is shopping at Target next door when all the sudden –”

John picked it up: “’Oh, crap! Where’s my gun!’”

Mike continued. “So it’s almost half an hour later, the cops are looking at surveillance tapes from the restaurant, the chief’s making frantic private calls and the tapes show the first guy who went into the john’s still in the restaurant, they talk to him, he ain’t got the gun. The second guy’d since left, and the third’s a 12-year-old kid!”

“The kid finds it?” Chip seemed disapproving. “This is national TV.”

“No, no, better. It’s the second guy. He’s one of those weirdos who doesn’t have a smart phone, no twitter, facebook, total hermit. So the cops are turning the whole town upside down, broadcasting pictures of the guy, and his brother recognizes him. They turn the gun in the next day. But by now the chief is hopping mad, threatening the DA will charge him with stealing the gun!”

John nudged Mike’s elbow. “Tell him about the politically incorrect part.”

“Oh, yeah, and this is the topper, the police chief’s a woman!”

“A gay woman,” John added. “Pull out the stops.”

Chip frowned. “Pretty risky. And that’s only enough for maybe half the timeslot.”

“Way ahead of you, Tiger,” Mike said. “The cops end up going outside their jurisdiction on a mistaken identity of the guy who found the gun. They invade this other guy’s house, toss his dog in the pound, ship his kids to Welfare Services, and put him and his wife in jail for child neglect, ‘Where’s the gun, we know you have the gun,’ you know. When the guy says ‘Illegal Search!’ the cops say, ‘Well, you’re on parole, we don’t need no steenking warrant. You got a dirty house, we’re taking your kids and your dog too!’”

Chip was starting to chuckle.

“Yeah, and wait! It turns out some clerical error in records had him confused with his brother, who was on parole!” John chortled. “So the whole deal’s a major clustersuck because ‘chief’ Barney Fife goes and forgets her loaded gun in the john!”

“Wild! How’s it end?”

“Oh, everybody comes out okay. The family and dog get reunited, the chief gets fined a day’s pay, and the guy who found the gun isn’t charged with stealing it.” John smirked. “But the DA does issue a statement saying he hopes everybody learned that to find something valuable and not return it immediately is the same as stealing it.”

“You’re kidding,” Chip said. “Well … it’s a little over the top, even for our audience. What else you got for me? Say … you want that last donut?”

Great work there, FinfreAk- I love it.

Deanna Cantrell needs to go, but of course she won’t. The city has decided to stick by her and she in turn will stick by them. Should any of these turds on the city council screw up or break any laws you can bet Deanna will have their back. Birds of a feather…

Memo to Mr. Dow: you think that you have sufficient evidence to bring a misdemeanor charge (although you decided against it. If you were to bring any charge including jaywalking you would be justifiably held in contempt by the entirety of the citizens you swore to protect. If you think you have some evidence against Mr. Mangan, the mountain of evidence that is stacked against the police chief and the unlawful entry into Mr. Mangan’s home should cause you to shutter in outrage.

Gee Mr. Dow, spare me the righteous indignation. You did the right thing but barely.

As to you police Chief Cantrell, you need to go. I wanted to support you when this story first broke. However now it looks like you were willing to do anything to keep your job. Shame on you! Can’t tell you how disappointed I am in you and all the SLO City leadership. Time to clean house folks!

Next election come fast enough.

Well, well, what do you know. Dow actually has some cajones – albeit very small (might need a microscope to see ’em). But now that he somehow seen the light and ruled against the powers that be – he should feel good – and try it again and again. Don’t count your blessings, but he just may learn to like it. Wouldn’t that be novel.

“Well, well, what do you know. Dow actually has some cajones…”

Are you serious? Not pressing charges was the politically prudent move. It just happened to be the morally right one as well. If Dow had any stones, he’d grand jury the chief ASAP…

Just imagine for a moment if a private person (and not a privileged govt employee) with a valid concealed firearms carry permit was obtuse enough to leave their loaded firearm on the asswipe dispenser at El Pollo Loco.

Let’s make this person a white, middle-aged, straight male for discussion purposes. Let’s also say they lied/obfuscated as Chief Cantrell did, once they realized they left their firearm behind. The results would have been immediate and harsh (yet deserved):

1.) Immediate revocation of their license to carry a concealed firearm.

2.) Permanent confiscation of their firearm.

3.) A raid on their home to “round-up” any other firearms they might own.

4.) A review of their home life by Child Protective Services if they have children in the house.

5.) And most seriously, they would be arrested. The SLOPD would push the SLOC DA to charge the individual with a felony. Given today’s anti-gun climate, I suspect the DA would comply.

Compare that to what Cantrell received. Crazy! Absolutely nuts!

I’ll be very direct, Chief Cantrell (and Derek Johnson, Heidi Harmon, Christine Dietrick, etc.) You’re not fooling anyone. A great hatred is fulminating in average private citizens for privileged people like yourselves. In other words, unfair treatment of people lacking character — people who don’t perform.

You need to go, Cantrell. You have lost our trust — it you ever had it to begin with. You clearly lack the honor to resign. That means that Derek Johnson needs to take a brave-pill and step up to his pay grade. It needs to happen now.

Exactly what I was thinking. If I left my (legally-carried) firearm in that bathroom and it disappeared for a day or two, while I scrambled to cover my ass, I have no doubt that SLOPD and the DA would throw the book at me (probably the entire library).