SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - Three 18-year-old Placerville residents have been charged with car theft after a 18-hour crime spree.
Police say from March 31st at 7PM through April 1st at 11AM, at least three vehicles were stolen and several unlocked cars within the city had property stolen from the interiors. In each auto theft case, the vehicle had been left unlocked with the keys inside.
Only one of the three stolen vehicles has been recovered so far.
The suspects have been booked into the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe for felony charges of auto theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy as it relates to at least one of these three auto thefts and to some of the thefts of property from inside unlocked and unattended vehicles in South Lake Tahoe.
The spree began Monday evening, when a white 1991 Jeep Cherokee, which displays CA plate 2WLV403 in a bright yellow rear license plate frame, was stolen from in front of a residence on Bowers Avenue. This vehicle has not been located. It has orange and red stripes on the sides with several bumper stickers on the back. Then, about 10:40 the same night, less than a mile away, a1991 Subaru Outback was stolen from the parking lot of Inn by the Lake (3300 Lake Tahoe Blvd.).
Tuesday morning, around 9, a victim discovered at least three men stealing items out of his unlocked vehicle in front of his house on Lodi Avenue. When he went to investigate, the burglars drove off in the stolen Subaru Outback. Police responded and found the stolen Subaru abandoned in the parking lot of the Nickelodeon Motel (2440 Lake Tahoe Blvd.).
SLTPD officers were assisted by El Dorado County Deputies in searching the area. The suspects were located at the Grocery Outlet store (2358 Lake Tahoe Blvd.), where at least one other victim had already discovered a theft from an unlocked vehicle in the parking lot. The victim from Lodi Avenue identified the suspects to police, who were found in possession of stolen property belonging to the Subaru as well as to other victims. While being booked, around 10:45AM, a third vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of McDonald’s at 1035 Emerald Bay Road. This is forest green 1996 Subaru Legacy sedan with CA plates of 6AON070. The white Jeep Cherokee and this forest green Subaru remain outstanding.
The many crimes are suspected to be connected to this same group of suspects. Police believe there are several thefts from unlocked vehicles that have not yet been discovered or reported. Police are asking for the public’s assistance to watch for the unrecovered stolen vehicles and to call 911 if discovered.
Every year in the cold winter months, the City of South Lake Tahoe sees an increase in the number of auto thefts as unlocked vehicles left idling by their owners become easy targets. Throughout the year thieves find it convenient to steal property from unlocked vehicles.