String of vehicle thefts baffle police


A spate of recent car thefts has left Havre police shaking their heads.

"Whoever is doing this could be intoxicated, or maybe they're very young and don't have a driver's license," police Lt. George Tate said of four car thefts in the last 10 days.

The thefts share similar characteristics, which leads police to believe they are connected. Police have no suspects.

All of the vehicles have been recovered, Tate said. Three were involved in crashes after they were stolen.

The thief or thieves seek cars that have been left unlocked, Tate said. Three of the cars had keys in the ignition.

Nothing is stolen from the cars. Police have not determined a motive for the thefts, Tate said, adding that it appears the thief has been joy riding.

The first vehicle was reported stolen Oct. 3 from a residence in the 700 block of Fourth Street, Tate said. The owner called police at 7:52 a.m. after discovering the car had been taken from the garage. Both the garage and the car had been left unlocked, and a spare key was left inside the vehicle.

The vehicle was stolen between 6 p.m. Oct. 2 and 7 a.m. Oct. 3, Tate said. The thief backed the car over a garbage can.

The 2002 Dodge Intrepid was recovered the next day after it had struck a power pole and was abandoned in the alley east of Sixth Avenue. In addition to the damage caused by the power pole, the vehicle had been damaged in other collisions, Tate said.

The next theft occurred Oct. 8, Tate said. Officer Rory Romberg found a 1989 Mercury Sable abandoned in the middle of the 800 block of 11th Street West, Tate said. The car, which had keys in the ignition, was taken between 5 and 11 a.m. on Oct. 8 in the 900 block of First Avenue, Tate said. The thief backed into a fence when driving off with the vehicle, he said.

The thief abandoned the vehicle after it broke down, Tate said.

"It appears the vehicle had a weak transmission, which is why it was stranded there," he said.

Later that day, a 1988 Buick Electra left unattended in the 600 block of Sixth Avenue was stolen between 1 and 2 p.m..

"The owner came out and found that the vehicle had been backed into a ditch," Tate said. "This guy is not a very good driver. He obviously has some trouble backing up."

A fourth car was stolen after a thief broke the ignition to start the vehicle, according to police.

Police are asking anyone with information about the thefts to call Crimestoppers at 265-4444, or the Havre Police Department at 265-4361. People calling with information can remain anonymous and can receive a reward of up to $1,000.


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