Police recover 300 unopened mail-in ballots for California recall election, along with drugs, guns, in sleeping man's car

Torrance police officers responded to calls of a man sleeping in his car at a 7-Eleven parking lot. Upon arrival, police officers found the stolen ballots.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

The Torrance Police Department is investigating after a man was found with over 300 unopened mail-in ballots for California's upcoming recall election in his car last week, according to ABC 7.

On August 16, Torrance police officers responded to calls of a man sleeping in his car at a 7-Eleven parking lot. Upon arrival, police officers found the stolen ballots along with drugs, a gun, stolen ID's, and credit cards.

Officers arrested the suspect who they say is a felon and took him into custody. However, he has since been released on his own recognizance.

"Inside the vehicle, the officers found a loaded handgun, some narcotics, and then they found a bunch of mail and what turned out to be over 300 election ballots in the backseat of the vehicle," said Sgt. Mark Ponegalek with the Torrance Police Department.

"They appeared to be in a box, but they were also kind of strewn across the backseat of the vehicle and so there was just a large portion of mail in that backseat."

Authorities say they are still investigating how the suspect obtained the ballots and if there were any intent.

"The election ballots, they were un-tampered with, unopened, a little over 300 of them found, primarily from addresses in Lawndale," Ponegalek said. "There were some from Compton. We're still trying to figure out where all these belonged to at this time so we're working with the Los Angeles (county) election office as well as the US Postal Inspector."

According to the Los Angeles County Registrar's office, they found no indication that the ballots were taken to influence the results of the recall vote, ABC 7 reports. They reason their findings due to stolen mail being found alongside the ballots.

"There's nothing to indicate this was focused on the election," the county registrar's office said.

The Los Angeles County Registrar's office said that the ballots were sent out to homes but none had been filled out.

The Torrance Police Department is working to submit names and addresses found on the recovered ballots to the registrar's office so ballots can be reissued, ABC 7 reports.


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