LOS ANGELES – A Pomona man who stole a military Humvee from the Army Reserve Center in Upland and briefly led police on a chase through Pomona’s residential streets pleaded guilty today to a federal criminal charge.
Armando Garcia, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. At the time of the offense, Garcia was on parole after being convicted in 2019 in state court on theft and burglary charges.
According to court documents, on November 9, 2020, Garcia stole a militarized High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle – commonly known as a Humvee – that had been secured by a padlock at the Reserve Center in Upland.
Soon after Garcia drove off with the semi-armored combat vehicle with a turret mount, Pomona Police officers saw the Humvee and attempted to make a traffic stop of the unlicensed vehicle, according to a complaint affidavit previously filed in this case.
“During the pursuit, which lasted approximately four minutes, the Humvee traveled at excessive speeds, drove on the wrong side of the street (in the direction of oncoming traffic), failed to stop at multiple red lights and stops signs, and failed to signal for turns,” according to the affidavit. Garcia stopped the Humvee in front of a home on a residential street in Pomona and was arrested at the scene.
Inside the Humvee, police found a large pair of bolt cutters and an Army-approved padlock that appeared to have been cut, according to the complaint, which notes the padlock had secured a steel wire put in place to prevent the turning of the steering wheel inside the vehicle.
United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt has scheduled a December 2 sentencing hearing, at which time Garcia will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
The FBI’s San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Task Force investigated this matter. The Pomona Police Department is the sponsoring agency of the Task Force and has hosted the task force since its inception in 2008.
Assistant United States Attorney Juan M. Rodríguez of the General Crimes Section is prosecuting this case.