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Rash of auto thefts impacts lakecity
Two adult males are free and awaiting court dates, after being arrested Monday for allegedly stealing a customer’s 2001 Dodge pickup truck from the Gustafson’s Chrysler dealership and crashing it into the Sheep Creek bridge.
“They aren’t prolific offenders, but are known to police,” said Williams Lake RCMP Insp. Warren Brown.
At around midnight Sunday police on patrol observed a speeding pickup travelling westbound on Highway 20, Brown said.
By the time the officer was able to turn his vehicle around, he had lost sight of the truck, but found it a short distance away after it had smashed into the Sheep Creek bridge guard rail, causing severe damage to both the rail and truck.
The two adult males were arrested at the scene, one with a minor cut on his head from the crash.
Gustafson’s Chrysler Jeep owner and manager Kerry Gustafson said the stolen pickup belonged to a man who recently moved to Williams Lake from Alberta to work at Gibraltar Mine.
“They had attempted to steal it once already,” Gustafson said. “I came earlier with the police and they must have got scared off. The police wanted me to look at a truck because they wondered if it had been stolen.”
Gustafson said he did notice that someone had stolen the battery out of the 2001 Dodge and guessed they returned later with a battery or had it hidden nearby somewhere.
He said another customer’s 2006 Dodge pickup had one of its windows and steering column damaged overnight Sunday when culprits attempted to steal it.
“It had a chip key in it so they weren’t able to steal it,” Gustafson said, adding a week and a half ago, another vehicle that was towed in for repairs was stolen.
“We didn’t even know it was drivable,” he said.
Due to the number of recent stolen vehicles, the detachment is increasing the number of road checks and patrols in targeted locations in order to locate and recover stolen vehicles and to hopefully, deter more thefts, Brown said.
“In recent weeks, we have arrested nine individuals in relation to auto thefts and we are aware of others involved that we are actively looking to locate and arrest,” Brown said. “We are working with neighbouring detachments as well to gain intelligence on those responsible.”