Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Police investigate Hailey auto thefts

Investigators suspect same person in series of vehicle heists


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Police in Blaine County are investigating the possibility that last Friday morning someone stole a vehicle in Hailey and wrecked it, stole another one and crashed it, too, and then made off with a third.

"We do have evidence to the scene that will tie all this to one person," Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said.

The case is being jointly investigated by Hailey police and the Blaine County Sheriff's Office.

Gunter said the first theft occurred about 1 a.m. Friday when a black Jeep Cherokee was stolen from the Balmoral apartment complex in southeast Hailey. The Jeep was found farther south in Hailey at about 8:30 that morning, crashed into the side of the Morgan's Fine Finishes building in the Glenbrook Drive area.

Stolen from that area was a van belonging to Valley Maintenance and Restoration. The van was found about 7:45 a.m. Friday rolled over in Townsend Gulch near Bellevue.

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The third theft occurred in the Townsend Gulch area, where a black Ford Excursion with Florida license plates was reported stolen. It had not been located as of Tuesday.

The Sheriff's Office reported that the perpetrator found a hidden key in at least one of the vehicles.

Gunter said damage was minor to the Morgan's Fine Finishes building, but that the Jeep and van were extensively damaged.

There are currently no suspects, but Gunter said, "We've got evidence that could very well give us someone."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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