The Department of Public Safety executed last Sunday, March 1, 2020, arrest warrants on three suspects connected to four separate auto-theft cases on Saipan.
The first case involves a theft of vehicle that occurred on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, at about 12:03am, when DPS received a call reporting a theft of vehicle at a residence located in Garapan. The victim told police that an unknown individual had drove off with their 2016 Toyota Tacoma. The victim stated that the gate had been left open and the vehicle was left unlocked with its keys still in the vehicle. While interviewing the victim, police received a report of a similar vehicle hitting a parked car before speeding off and running into a house in Upper Miha in China Town. When police arrived at the scene, they noticed that a 2016 Toyota Tacoma had run into a house and did not have the keys inside the vehicle. No persons were found inside the vehicle at the time. Preliminary investigation revealed a certain item left inside the vehicle that belonged to the suspect. Witnesses in the area also helped police identify the suspect, who was later found to be a juvenile. The juvenile was found and the key for the vehicle was found on the juvenile, who was then arrested. The juvenile was found to be under the influence of alcohol, and was brought to the Commonwealth Health Center for clearance before being transported to the Department of Corrections for booking. The juvenile was later released by the court.
The second case occurred on Dec. 11, 2019, at about 6:28pm, when the victim called to report a theft of their red 2017 Mazda 3 sedan from their apartment in San Jose, Saipan.
The victim in this case stated that they left the vehicle’s key in the ignition and did not secure the vehicle. The next morning, they discovered that the vehicle was missing and called for police assistance. On the same day, police found the vehicle parked at an apartment complex in Garapan. The victim noticed that the vehicle’s front bumper had been damaged and the key was missing from the vehicle.
On Dec. 13, 2019, at about 8:02am, the red 2017 Mazda 3 was reported stolen again, as the key for the vehicle had not been recovered yet. On the same date at about 10:23am, the vehicle was located inside a ditch just off the road in the village of Gualo Rai, with damage to the vehicle’s passenger side window and body damage to the vehicle’s right side.
The third case was reported on Dec. 13, 2019. At approximately 12:24pm, the victim called 911 to report a theft of their vehicle at their residence on Navy Hill. The victim stated that their white 2012 Ford Econoline van had been missing since Dec. 10, 2019. The victim stated that they thought an employee had taken the van but it was later discovered that the employee had not seen it since Dec. 10, 2019. The keys had been left inside the van for the employee, but the van was taken before the employee was able to pick up the vehicle.
On the same date reported at about 1:32pm, an officer making a routine patrol through Navy Hill spotted the van perform a U-turn and drive at an excessive speed toward Grace Christian Academy. Police also performed a U-turn and drove toward GCA. The officer then came upon the van, which had been left unattended and there were no occupants in the vehicle.
The victim later positively identified the vehicle and stated that the van now has a big dent on the vehicle’s right passenger side, with writings on the hood and side of the vehicle. No suspects were apprehended at the time and an investigation followed.
The fourth case was reported on Dec. 14, 2019. At 7:43am, the security of a hotel in Garapan called to report a theft of a company golf cart. Shortly after all units were notified to be on the look-out for a white golf cart, an officer conducting routine patrol though Garapan spotted the golf cart and immediately noticed two individuals flee and run toward a wooded area. The officer notified all units and a K-9 was dispatched to the scene. Shortly after 8:17pm, officers radioed in that they had located the two suspects with the help of the police K-9. The suspects were brought to CHC for clearance of injuries sustained from running through the jungle, before being transported to DOC where they were booked and detained. They were later released as police conducted further investigation.
After interviews with witnesses who were at the scene, combing through hours of video surveillance, and other case related evidence, DPS forwarded a request for arrest warrants on three juveniles involved in the four separate vehicle theft cases. On Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, an arrest warrant for the three juvenile suspects for charges including theft of vehicle, conspiracy, accessory after the fact, theft, burglary, and criminal mischief was signed by the Superior Court Associate Judge Teresa Kim-Tenorio, with bail set at $10,000 on each individual. (PR)