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California

Freed inmate hijacks car in jail parking lot, authorities say

A Hesperia woman got out of jail Wednesday afternoon, hopped into a car parked outside and drove away.

Problem was, it wasn’t her car.

And the elderly woman sitting inside the vehicle? She didn’t know her.

Monique Irene Cadena, 24, had been arrested by Victorville police at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, authorities said. She was taken to the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, where she was cited and released at 5:10 p.m., the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.

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Cadena asked several people in the jail visitors’ area if she could get a ride, authorities said. When she went outside, she noticed a white 2004 Hyundai Sonata sitting at a curb near the jail with its engine running.

Inside the vehicle was an elderly woman waiting for a family member, according to the sheriff’s department.

Cadena got in the car and drove away, authorities said.

Someone in the parking lot noticed the elderly woman in the car yelling for assistance and alerted a jail deputy, authorities said.

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A few minutes later, Cadena dropped the woman off at a gas station at Valley and Cherry avenues in Fontana and drove away. Deputies found the woman inside, unharmed, authorities said.

Fontana police found Cadena in the stolen vehicle at 10 p.m. Wednesday, a few miles away, near Sierra Avenue and Foothill Boulevard, according to the sheriff’s department.

Cadena was arrested again without incident and taken back to the West Valley Detention Center, where she was booked on suspicion of carjacking and kidnapping.

She was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Friday, according to sheriff’s inmate records.

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson


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