Juan Machuca Gonzalez – San Luis Obispo County booking photo from May
Frequent Salinas Car Theft Suspect Was Still Sitting In the Vehicle
PRUNEDALE—thanks to the intuitive mind of a Monterey County Sheriff’s Deputy, a stolen vehicle is back with its rightful owner today, and a car thief is sitting in a cell at the Monterey County Jail instead of the stolen car.
The deputy was on patrol Wednesday, October 13 when he noticed a white 1994 Honda Accord parked at the entrance to Manzantia Park, at 17100 Castroville Boulevard, on the dirt shoulder. The deputy decided to check the vehicle to see if it was abandoned or non-operable.
“When I approached the vehicle, I was notified that the car was reported stolen from the City Of Morgan Hill,” Monterey County Deputy J. Banuelos wrote in his report. As the deputy got closer to the car he noticed that the driver was still seated inside the vehicle.
When contacted by deputy Banuelos, the driver gave numerous false names, presumably to avoid detection. Eventually his true name was determined to be Juan Machuca, a 19-year-old out of the City of Salinas. He is also known as Juan Machuca Gonzalez.
The teenager did not have an explanation as to why he was in possession of the vehicle. It turns out that Machuca was out on bail. But Deputy Banuelos put an end to that – he took him into custody and transported him to the Monterey County Jail, where Machuca was booked for possession of a stolen vehicle, committing a crime while out on bail and providing a false name to law enforcement during an investigation.
His bail status stemmed from an arrest earlier this year. On May 13, Manchuca/Gonzalez was involved in a high-speed chase with California Highway Patrol officers on the 101 Freeway southbound from Monterey County into Paso Robles. Late that Wednesday night, according to a story in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the CHP received a report of a maroon Honda Accord driving recklessly on the freeway. They found the car, identified the plates as a stolen vehicle out of Salinas, and began a pursuit that reached speeds of 100 miles per hour.
The driver, later identified as Juan Machuca Gonzalez, exited the freeway into Paso Robles, driving through city streets late at night, turned off the headlights and tried to escape on foot. CHP officers and a helicopter, along with Paso Robles police, caught up with him and he was arrested and booked for vehicle theft, possessing burglary tools, stolen property, street terrorism, driving without a license, resisting arrest, and child endangerment.
Soledad police later arrested him on September 15 on outstanding warrants for those charges, along with disorderly conduct – public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Earlier records show that in September of 2014, when he was 18 years old and recently released from juvenile detention, he was arrested by Monterey Sheriff’s Deputies for vehicle theft, reckless driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a license. Just two months later, on November 13, he was arrested again, this time for battery, and assault with a deadly weapon or with force likely to cause great bodily injury. Further details of those incidents were not available.
Read More: San Luis Obispo Tribune