A suspected repeat car thief was arrested Wednesday for the fourth time in a month but freed from jail under an emergency bail schedule prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
As he has done on three prior occasions, Alex Francesco Delacruz signed a promise-to-appear citation and released from custody, according to a Riverside Police Department statement.
The Riverside Police Department posted a contrived mocking first-person narrative on its Facebook page in which the suspect thinks to himself, “I was arrested and booked into jail … for auto theft, but I’m already out with another citation. Gotta love these California bail schedules.”
“When will I be held accountable for my crimes?” according to the manufactured narrative, evidently aimed at the emergency bail schedule the Riverside County Superior Court has had in place since June 20.
Investigators allege that shortly after 7 a.m., Delacruz accessed the auto auction property on Magnolia Avenue and attempted to take a 2017 BMW 530i — which he successfully stole in the predawn hours Monday but stopped by a patrol unit and taken into custody without incident.
Security guards at the auction yard spotted him Wednesday and called 911, culminating in his arrest at the location minutes later, according to the police department.
The 29-year-old Delacruz has been involved in two additional auto thefts, for a total of four, since mid-September, investigators allege.
The California Judicial Council in April adopted a statewide emergency bail schedule as a means of limiting jail intakes in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The council’s order was rescinded in June, but counties were given the option of continuing to utilize the schedule, which the Riverside County Superior Court has done.
According to the court, “$0 bail or significantly reduced bail levels for most misdemeanors and low-level felonies” should be applied “where appropriate.” Felony offenses that have any component of violence do not qualify.
In lieu of posting bail, detainees who qualify are offered a citation with a promise to appear in court on a future date, requiring only a signature to be released from custody.
Law enforcement officers have the option to contest a cite-and-release. They are generally given eight hours to present their arguments to a judge for a bail or bond requirement.
If the judge agrees, he or she must then sign an order specifying that the sheriff’s department must hold a suspect in jail in lieu of bail.