WATSONVILLE — A Watsonville man was arrested on numerous charges including grand theft, forgery and burglary Sunday after selling a stolen 1964 Chevrolet Corvette on Craigslist for $25,000.
California Highway Patrol officers were called to the Capitola DMV when a man attempted to register the stolen vehicle Nov. 30.
According to Sgt. Grant Boles, the victim of the scam told CHP officers he had paid for the vehicle on Nov. 17 and provided information about the man who had impersonated the car’s legal owner.
After an investigation that involved multiple officers, CHP identified Jesse Chmelicek, 43, of Watsonville, as the suspected Craigslist car scammer, according to Boles.
During a warrant search of Chmelicek’s house at Main Street and Holm Road in Watsonville, officers found what Boles described as “an extensive criminal element.”
“The investigation is ongoing and we’re continuing to uncover more, but I can tell you that we also found evidence that linked him to several home burglaries in Capitola and La Selva,” he said.
According to Boles, officers recovered a trailer stolen in Capitola, as well as a stolen tractor, which was stolen during a residential burglary in Aptos.
Chmelicek was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on charges of auto theft, possession of stolen vehicles, grand theft, burglary, forgery and possession of methamphetamine. He remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Sgt. Boles said the Corvette has since been returned to its original owner. The Craigslist buyer is out $25,000. —— (c)2015 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. AMX-2015-12-08T05:16:00-05:00