Police investigate string of car thefts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police investigate string of car thefts

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May 11, 2004

Tifton- JP Auto sales owner Jacob Owen was surprised to hear from the Tifton police Sunday night.

"911 gave me a call and said I think we have a car stolen here, and so I went over to see, and I said sure enough I said that car I haven't sold and it was stuck in the ditch about two blocks from here."

Police say thieves broke into his office and stole the keys to a 1998 Toyota Camry, 2000 Mercury Mystique, and a 1998 red Mitsubishi.

Owen says he thinks teens took the cars to go joyriding. "They broke in and found a few keys, they took those cars went out joyriding, they didn't wreck them, and they didn't steal anything. We're just glad we got the cars back."

But JP wasn't only lot hit that night.

"Between Sunday night and Monday morning early there were actually 5 vehicles stolen," says Detective Melissa Wood of the Tifton Police Department.

Five blocks away thieves busted through the back door of Quality Auto Sales and stole the keys to a Chevy pickup, and just across the street stole a Chevy Blazer from A & A Finance.

"The green and tan Blazer that was stolen from A&A Finance is still missing we are still currently looking for that one," explains Wood.

Even though most of the cars have been recovered it's still costing the dealers money. This is the fifth time in seven years Quality has been hit. Last year, they spent more than $4000 replacing the locks on their entire fleet when robbers took all their keys.

From Sunday's hit alone, Owen had to cough up $500 for lock replacements and towing fees. "We'll have to keep those locked up at another location or in another place that way they just can't take off with the cars that easy," admits Owen.

Police believe all three auto thefts are linked and are asking anyone with information to contact investigators at the Tifton Police Department. They say when suspects are caught they will be charged with burglary and theft by taking.

Posted at 4:45 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com