On Wednesday, deputies working out of the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station stopped two men in what was believed to be a stolen vehicle in Gorman. As the deputy questioned and investigated the two inhabitants in the front seat of the vehicle, he ascertained that neither man had the permission to be in possession of, nor driving, the vehicle they were in.
Upon further investigation, the deputy discovered two people in the back seat of the vehicle. According to the report, both individuals in the back seat were being transported north pending payment for their passage. The suspects are currently being held in lieu of $1.035 million bail.
Grand theft auto is covered under California Penal Code 487(d)(1) PC and is described as unlawfully taking a vehicle worth $950 or more from someone else without their permission, and that the suspect intended to either keep the vehicle permanently or deprive the owner of its use or enjoyment for an extended period of time. Grand theft auto is a “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. In practice, however, grand theft auto is almost always charged as a felony. The penalties include: sixteen months to three years in jail, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Kidnapping is covered under California Penal Code 207, 208, 209, and 209.5 PC and is described as moving another person a substantial distance, without their consent, and using force or fear to do so. The suspects in this case were expecting a ransom upon delivery of the victims, and so their charge will most likely be for aggravated kidnapping and the sentence will be enhanced. Simple kidnapping carries the penalty of up to 8 years in California state prison. Aggravated kidnapping carries the possible sentence of 5 years to life in California state prison. Both charges count as a “strike” under California’s “Three Strikes Law.”