Jose Enrique Esquivel faces 14 felony counts for auto thefts between the March 30 and June 15.
Esquivel, 24, was reportedly arrested on March 30 for stealing a truck and then immediately released following coronavirus emergency bail schedule – which sought to reduce jail populations during the pandemic.
“The defendant was again arrested for either driving or attempting to steal a truck but released on April 28, May 8, twice on May 14, May 20, May 23, May 27, June 6, June 8, June 13 and June 15,” Ricardo Santiago, a public information officier, said in a release Tuesday.
Esquivel has been charged with 12 counts of “driving or taking a vehicle without consent” and for second-degree burglary in another case.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Trina Schrader called Esquivel “a prolific car thief who victimized vehicle owners with modest incomes,” a local news outlet reported.
Schrader asked anyone to come forward if they think they were a victim of Esquivel’s theft.
"Suspect Esquivel showed little regard for the owners of these vehicles, who many times depended on these stolen vehicles as their sole means of transportation,” Schrader said Tuesday.
“The suspect is also accused of exploiting the modification to the Los Angeles County Bail Schedule during his crime spree, while the County endured the statewide COVID-19 emergency where most crimes were designated to have zero bail."
Esquivel was eventually held by authorities on his final theft attempt on June 23 because the emergency bail schedule had ended.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and his bail has been set to $550,000.
Esquivel is scheduled to appear in court on July 27 and again on August 10 for four separate cases.
The defendant was previously convicted of “convicted of driving or taking a vehicle without consent” twice in 2017 and twice again in 2018 and 2019.
“Deputy District Attorney Alexander Karkanen of the Task Force for Regional Auto Theft said Esquivel faces a possible maximum sentence of 17 years in state prison if convicted as charged,” the press release said Tuesday.
Santiago could not be immediately reached for comment.