Santa Ana police said Jose Manuel Ortiz, 35, and Ryan Irwin Tischer, 37, met while being released from the Orange County Jail around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday and they allegedly stole a 1994 Ford van a few hours later, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Friday.
Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said the men drove the stolen van to a parking garage between the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Santa Ana Police Department where they burglarized a police jailer's vehicle of items including a flashlight and a keychain.
Bertagna said an off-duty officer came into the parking structure while having a conversation on his phone around 12:10 a.m. and Ortiz allegedly charged him and demanded he hand over the device.
However, police said the officer overpowered Ortiz and took him into custody. The booking officer at the jail recognized his own property among the items taken from Ortiz.
Tischer was found standing next to the stolen van a short time later and was taken into custody.
Both men were charged with grand theft auto, taking vehicle without owner's permission and possession of stolen property. Ortiz was also charged with attempted robbery and vehicle theft with a prior. Ortiz's bail was set at $50,000 and Tischer was held without bail on a parole hold.