Pierce County auto theft task force cracks down; arrests 6

In just one day of focused patrols, 15 stolen vehicles and an estimated 1,000 fentanyl pills were recovered.

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. – A day of auto theft patrols in Pierce County resulted in 15 recovered vehicles, six arrests, two recovered firearms and the seizure of about 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills.

On Friday, the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force conducted a multi-agency auto theft patrol in Pierce County. The agency worked with the Tacoma Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Sumner Police Department, Washington State Patrols, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

“We know that since the laws changed, auto thefts have increased along with burglaries and armed robberies and you commit one of those crimes, you use a stolen vehicle to commit that crime,” the public information officer for the said Pierce County Sheriff’s Department Darren Moss.

Pierce County says Moss has seen a 110 percent increase in stolen vehicles over the past five years. The department attributes the increase in part to police laws preventing law enforcement from tracking vehicles. Moss said the law is no secret to criminals.

“They’re ahead of the game. We need to up our game and find new ways to try and fight the new crime wave that we’re seeing with stolen vehicles,” Moss said.

Stolen vehicles are misused for other crimes. During focus patrols, the Auto Task Force highlighted three cases.

A Chevrolet Camaro was stolen in a Parkland home burglary. The driver fled and resisted arrest, but was eventually arrested. A stolen Honda CRV sped away after Tacoma police tried to stop traffic. The car came to a standstill due to an inability to drive on train tracks. Officials say the passenger in the car had about 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills. The third case involved a Chrysler Town and Country that was stolen during a car theft in Pierce County. Authorities arrested six youths, including the 12-year-old driver, who was in possession of a .45 pistol.

A law in Washington requires juveniles to speak to an attorney before police can question them. Moss said because of this bill, lawmakers can’t ask what the kids were doing, but he fears it could be gang-related.

“We have a lot of gang activities that involve younger kids. In many of our drive-by shootings and armed robberies, we see young youth committing these crimes,” Moss said.

The 12-year-old was sent to Remann Hall Juvenile Prison. The other youths were handed over to their parents. Law enforcement can hold the 12-year-old accountable, but Moss believes there’s a bigger question that needs to be asked.

“As a society, as a community, do we need to find out what made one of our 12-year-old kids do something like this?” Moss said.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/pierce-county-task-force-car-theft/281-fd3afb73-c68b-4dba-a17c-dde6da68284a Pierce County auto theft task force cracks down; arrests 6

Alley Einstein

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