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San Luis Obispo police chief’s personal vehicle stolen from Santa Margarita

San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell’s personal vehicle was stolen on Wednesday in the North County and recovered in the Bay Area that night, according to police officials.

The vehicle, a 2014 Hyundai Elantra, was stolen in Santa Margarita between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to Sgt. Kevin Phillips and CHP Officer Pat Seebart.

It was recovered that night in Daly City in San Mateo County, and a woman was arrested, Phillips and Seebart said.

KSBY-TV reported the woman who was arrested was found in the car naked.

Cantrell’s son was in possession of the vehicle, and he reported it had been stolen, Seebart said.

The vehicle was locked, but the keys weren’t all accounted for, Seebart said. Officers suspect a key may have been in a visible location inside the car, allowing someone to break in and steal it, he said.

Cantrell declined to provide The Tribune with any additional information about the incident when reached by phone. She questioned why the theft of her personal vehicle was newsworthy.

“I’m the victim of a crime,” she said.

Last month, Cantrell faced community criticism after her gun was stolen when she left it in an El Pollo Loco restroom. She issued a video apology, and the firearm was later recovered from a Los Osos man.

Joy Riojas, 25, was arrested for stealing the vehicle after San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies located it in San Bruno Mountain State Park, said spokeswoman Rosemary Blankswade.

The deputies were called to the area for another incident and found the car parked there, Blankswade said.

Riojas was taken into custody on suspicion of driving or taking a vehicle without consent and receiving stolen property. She’s being held in the Maguire Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bail, according to jail records.

Riojas’ next appearance in San Mateo County Superior Court will take place on Monday at 1:30 p.m.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.
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