Man given probation for taking kids’ skateboards while posing as deputy

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VISTA, Calif.  — A man who detained two juveniles and took their skateboards in Vista while posing as a sheriff’s deputy was sentenced Monday to three years of formal probation.

Abraham Joseph Nava, 24, pleaded guilty last month to felony false imprisonment and in a separate case admitted calling in a false report of a bomb threat.

The defendant was given credit for 149 days in custody. He will have to comply with counseling conditions as required by the probation department, including a forensic examination to help determine what course of treatment to take, said Deputy District Attorney Peter Estes.

The defendant was arrested June 14, days after the sheriff’s department was contacted about a suspect claiming to be an undercover deputy and launched an investigation.

During interviews with several employees from businesses in the Main Street area of Vista, investigators learned that the suspect had passed out fake business cards and was interacting with juveniles, said sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Scroggins. Investigators also learned that two juveniles were detained by the suspect and had their skateboards taken, he said.

After identifying Nava as the suspect, investigators got a warrant to search his home and discovered several pieces of San Diego County Sheriff’s Department-specific uniform items, including badges, Scroggins said.

A box of fraudulent sheriff’s department business cards also was found, according to the sergeant.

On June 26, prosecutors charged Nava with calling in a false report of a bomb threat.

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