California Couple Use Stolen Car To Appear In Court, Get Arrested Again

It is generally not a good idea to steal a car. The idea is even more ridiculous when you use a stolen car to drive to your scheduled a court appearance.

But that’s exactly what a couple from California learnt last Friday. Forty-nine-year-old James Manning and 45-year-old Teresa Castillo were to appear at the Tuolumne County Court in Sonora, Calif. on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. Since they didn’t have a car handy to reach the location, they chose what must have seemed like a simple solution:

Steal a car.

According to the Modesto Bee, the couple selected a 2001 model Mitsubishi from an auto dealership in Redding as their vehicle of choice and sped away without notifying the dealer. The dealership, as expected, contacted the Sonora police with a complaint about the stolen car.

Meanwhile, the couple had safely reached the Tuolumne County Courthouse, where they appeared for the proceedings. What the couple was unaware of was the fact that the stolen car they came in was fitted with a GPS tracker which the dealer could use to identify the location of the car. They notified the police with the exact location of the stolen car – which was of course the parking lot of the Tuolumne County Court.

Before James Manning came out of the court, officers who responded to the call had already reached the spot where they found the stolen car. The couple were smart enough to change the license plates on the car. Meanwhile, Teresa approached the stolen car when police confronted her. Initially she told them that her husband bought the car for $200 so he could drive to the court for his scheduled appearance.

While Manning was still inside the courthouse, police contacted him and asked him about the car. Initially he refused to accept that the vehicle he came in was stolen. However, he eventually confessed to the crime.

Now, if you thought the story ended here, it didn’t. Police officials soon conducted a mandatory check inside the stolen car and guess what they found? A few packets of marijuana and a few other drug paraphernalia. From a couple who were appearing in court for possession of a banned substance.


Both Castillo and Manning were immediately taken into custody and have been booked at the Tuolumne County Jail on felony charges of possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance.

You might have heard of dumb criminals, but do you think the antics of this couple with the stolen car tops them all?

[Image via The Modesto Bee]