Left alone in a grocery store after his wallet — containing $1,200 — was stolen from his pocket, Kenneth Kessinger told police the thief was his grandson and the theft happened so fast he couldn't do anything but yell as his grandson ran out the door.
Asked why his grandson would so such a thing, Kessinger, 87, replied the 20-year-old "always" steals from him, according to court documents.
The grand theft charge filed in the case is just one of numerous charges Kaleb Kessinger faces stemming from two incidents, one in February, the other in April. In the latter, he's accused, along with his girlfriend, of killing a 2-year-old boy and dumping his body in the Kern River Canyon.
Kaleb Kessinger and Ayled Chavez, 19, are each being held on $1 million bail on charges including first-degree murder.
According to redacted court documents filed in connection with the Feb. 12 theft investigation, it appears Kaleb Kessinger kept certain things secret from his family — including the guns police say he stashed in his room for the benefit of the West Side Crips gang.
Police say in the documents, which became available Wednesday, that after the alleged theft officers learned Kaleb Kessinger was on active probation and his residence was subject to search.
Officers contacted Kessinger's brother at his home, and he confirmed Kessinger had his own room and it was kept locked, the documents say. He told police he didn't have a key.
The brother made a phone call to Kessinger and put him on speakerphone, and officers told him they were at his residence and prepared to search his room, according to the documents. Kessinger told police he was on the freeway and would be home in 30 minutes.
If he wasn't home by then, police told him, they would force open his door.
Thirty minutes passed, and Kessinger failed to show up. An officer kicked open the door.
Upon entering, police found multiple firearms — including a homemade assault rifle — and items suggesting connections to the West Side Crips, according to the documents. In particular, there was a T-shirt pinned to the wall with "LongLiveFund$" in red writing across the top and a picture of a West Side Crips gangster who was shot dead the year before.
The gangster's name is redacted from the documents. Police said it's believed Kessinger owned the firearms to benefit the West Side Crips, and investigators turned up information he "commonly and actively" associated with documented members of the gang.
"I believe the proud display of the gang indicia bearing the photographs and moniker for (the gangster) to be significant in this investigation due to the fact that officers had located numerous illegally possessed firearms inside of Kaleb Kessinger's bedroom," an officer wrote in the reports.
Kessinger's brother told police he didn't know Kessinger had firearms and ammunition in his room. He said Kessinger "comes and goes" from the residence. Investigators were unable to find him.
Then, in late April, Kessinger and Chavez were arrested in the death of 2-year-old Ramon Angel Reyes-Chavez.
According to court documents, Chavez told police she left Ramon, her son, in the care of Kessinger while she went out to dinner with a friend. Kessinger is not the boy's father.
When she returned, she noticed injuries to Ramon's head and face, she told investigators. The boy died that night, and they left his body in a car until the next morning, when they drove to the Kern River Canyon and dumped the corpse.
They returned later the same day to bury the body, she told police.
Chavez is next due in court July 5, and Kessinger on Aug. 8.