An executive chef who worked at Geronimo’s Cafe located in the Satellite Student Union waived his rights to a preliminary hearing for charges of grand theft of personal property on June 11 at the San Fernando Courthouse.
Victor Manuel Mancilla, 43, was read a list of his rights by Laura Gonzalez, a lawyer for the district attorney’s office. Gonzalez informed Mancilla that by law he is entitled to a preliminary hearing. Gonzalez needed to make sure that he understood and agreed to give up those rights under the court of law. Mancilla agreed to give up all of these rights.
Judge Dalila C. Lyons said she thought Mancilla was of sound mind and that he understood the rights he was giving up and waived them
Mancilla was arrested on March 17 after David Nirenberg, director of commercial services, suspected Mancilla of stealing “Grab ‘ Go” sandwiches and yogurt parfaits from the Geronimo Cafe located in the Satellite Student Union and part of the University Corporation.
“Grab ‘ Go” is a brand name of the University Corporation that is sold on campus.
“The Corporation takes theft of all kinds very seriously,” said Rick Evans, the acting executive director for the University Corporation.
On March 14, Nirenberg met with Det. Sgt. Dana Archer of the CSUN Police Department to discuss his suspicion of Mancilla’s theft from the University Corporation. Nirenberg said he saw Mancilla on a surveillance camera and in person loading boxes of sandwiches made by the caf’eacute;’s staff onto a Brown Bag delivery truck.
Nirenberg said the delivery company was used only to drop off items, not to pick them up. During the afternoon of March 17, Nirenberg contacted Det. Sgt. Archer and told him that he saw the Brown Bag truck at the caf’eacute;.
Det. Sgt. Archer, along with Corporal Leon Ortiz-Gil, followed the truck, which was driven by Wachagan Hovhannisyan, 26, and pulled him over at Nordhoff Street and White Oak Avenue. Upon searching the truck, Det. Sgt. Archer found three boxes full of 76 sandwiches and 180 yogurt parfaits totaling $423 worth of food.
Hovhannisyan was arrested for receiving stolen property.
After being read his Miranda Admonition, Hovhannisyan told police he was picking up boxes with sandwiches from Mancilla for months. Hovhannisyan said he never received paperwork for the boxes and that one of the owners Bozant “Peter” Kankababian if Brown Bag (Brothers Distribution) dealt with Mancilla himself. Hovhannisyan was later released.
Mancilla was arrested later that day after being suspended from his job.
He admitted selling the “Grab ‘ Go” items to Kankababian every week since November or December.
Each month, Mancilla collected anywhere from $500 to $1700 for these items. Mancilla wrote an apology to the University Corporation for his actions and said that no other Geronimo employee knew of his actions. Mancilla is schedule in court again on June 25 to continue with his trail.
Correction: Information describing the arrest of the campus chef on theft charges should have been attributed to a CSUN Police Department report.