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Snohomish County Sheriff’s office uncovers auto theft operation

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Published on Wed, Feb 28, 2007
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Snohomish County Sheriff’s office uncovers auto theft operation

BY PAM STEVENS | COPY EDITOR A 22-year-old Arlington man was booked into the Snohomish County jail late last month after some intense investigative work by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office.

With the help of the LoJack System, Sheriff’s deputies and detective’s uncovered a major auto theft operation, which involved vehicles from both King and Snohomish counties.

So far the detectives are aware of over 50 vehicles that the suspect allegedly stole in unincorporated Snohomish County and in other cities within the county including Lake Stevens. However, the suspect believes he has stolen two to three hundred vehicles in the last year including law enforcement vehicles and other cars in the Seattle area, according to Rebecca Hover, spokesperson for Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department.

Apparently, the suspect preferred to steal newer or high-end cars and would usually stalk homes after 9pm when homeowners were watching television so that they couldn’t hear him taking the vehicle. He would choose his vehicles by checking to see if the doors were unlocked and said he even found keys to other vehicles inside some of the cars. In some cases, he would steal more than just one vehicle from the same owner.

On Jan. 23 Deputy Karl Gilje learned that a Washington State Patrol aircraft equipped with a LoJack tracking device got a hit on a stolen car in Arlington. His patrol car is equipped with the wireless tracking system and recovery equipment so he searched the area and found a strong signal coming from a home in the 18900 block of Jordan Road in Arlington.

While searching the property he discovered several stolen cars including BMW’s, a Volkswagen and a pick-up truck, all in various stages of dismantling. Deputies also discovered where people’s personal documents from the stolen vehicles were being burned. After receiving a search warrant deputies were able to go inside the home and discovered the suspect hiding under some covers in a bedroom.

The Sheriff’s office filed approximately 34 cases against the suspect. Lake Stevens, along with other cities are also expected to file charges.

Many of the Sheriff’s departments’ vehicles are equipped with the LoJack system.

It’s a great tool for us,” Deputy Gilje said. “It helps us recover people’s vehicles a lot faster – and it catches criminals.”

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