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News Release

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Media Relations

Grand Theft Suspect Who Posed as Catholic Priest NR16030ml

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Commercial Crimes Division (CCD) detectives have arrested 59-year-old Erwin Mena who impersonated a Catholic Priest to defraud parishioners.

On June 4, 2015, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles contacted the LAPD to report that their parishioners had been defrauded by Erwin Mena. Over the course of several years, Mena visited multiple Catholic Parishes throughout the Los Angeles Area and portrayed himself as a Catholic Priest. Mena officiated church ceremonies and solicited donations on behalf of the church(s), but kept the money for himself. Commercial Crimes Division personnel investigated these allegations and presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office (DA). The DA's office reviewed the case and filed counts for 115 PC Falsifying a Public Document, 118 PC Perjury and multiple counts for 487 PC Grand Theft against Mena. A felony warrant was issued for Mena's arrest.

On February 2, 2016, Mena was tracked to the area of 1400 North Academy Road in the Elysian Park area of Los Angeles and taken into custody without incident. Mena was booked into the Los Angeles Metropolitan Jail.

Anyone with additional information is urged to call Detective Guevara, LAPD, CCD at 213-486-6630. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD." Tipsters may also go to, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.