Woman who drove cop car into Mission Bay sentenced to prison

SDPD police car

SAN DIEGO – A woman who took part in the robbery of a mother-to-be in the victim’s Pacific Beach apartment before stealing a San Diego police vehicle and driving it into the water at Fiesta Island was sentenced Friday to five years in state prison.

Stephanie Majsterski, 26, pleaded guilty last month to “hot prowl” burglary, false imprisonment, robbery, auto theft of a police car, resisting an executive officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Majsterski — who was on probation for DUI and resisting arrest — apologized to the main victim in the case, Carolina Souza, who was seven months pregnant at the time of the home-invasion robbery.

Majsterski’s attorney told Judge Polly Shamoon that health issues caused his client to self-medicate and led her into abusing drugs and associating with the wrong people.

Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde said Souza did not attend the sentencing because seeing Majsterski again was the last thing she wanted. After the home-invasion, Souza was afraid to be home alone, Yturralde said.

“She (Souza) said, “I keep re-living the episode,”‘ the prosecutor told the judge.

Souza testified during a preliminary hearing in April that two people – – identified later as Majsterski and James Graham — came into her residence on Pacific Beach Drive about 9 p.m. last Dec. 14.

Souza said Graham appeared to be concealing a knife as he approached her and demanded money and her car, while Majsterski blocked the door.

When Souza told Graham she didn’t have any money, he grabbed a wallet, laptop computer and some other items off the table and left with Majsterski, the victim testified.

As he fled, Graham told Souza to wait in the apartment for 20 seconds before going outside, she said.

“I was terrified,” Souza said. “I didn’t want to leave the apartment. I didn’t know where they were.”

Authorities said no knife was found.

San Diego Police Officer Alfredo Nafarrete said he left the keys in his cruiser while he and his partner chased Graham and Majsterski on foot, but the SUV was gone when he came back. Graham was arrested but Majsterski remained at large.

Rafael Mendoza said he was on a date with his then-girlfriend on Fiesta Island when a police cruiser drove past them and into the water.

The witness said he looked at Majsterski after she crashed into the water, and she took off running. She was arrested a short time later as she tried to sneak off the island as a passenger in another car.

An officer hurt his finger as he struggled to get Majsterski into custody, Yturralde said.

As she imposed sentence, Shamoon told the defendant it was “disingenuous” to blame the incident on drugs.

Had the victim’s husband been home during the robbery, Majsterski could have been killed as an intruder, the judge told her.

“I hope you appreciate (the fact) that you’re still alive,” Shamoon said.

Graham, 41, who has 10 robbery convictions dating back to 2008, was on parole at the time of the Pacific Beach robbery and faces more than 55 years to life in prison if convicted, Yturralde said.

His trial is scheduled for Dec. 4.