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Bend vehicle thefts jumped 56% last year; police recover 2 guns from stolen pickup

Bend police car thefts stats 2018-20
Bend Police Department
Bend police call-out raid SW Bend
Neighbor watched as Bend Police Dept., CERT Team prepared for search warrant Saturday to find firearm taken from stolen pickup truck
Stolen recovered handgun rifle Bend PD
Bend Police Department
Handgun, rifle in stolen pickup truck were recovered

Crackdown effort is planned over next three months to curb the trend

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Car thefts jumped more than 56 percent in Bend last year, police reported Tuesday, and at least a third had been left unlocked -- many with keys, even guns left inside, as in one case last weekend that led to a CERT raid. Police said they plan several strategies to curb the trend.

Here's a news release from police Lt. Juli McConkey about two recent incidents and an analysis of last year's vehicle theft data:

Having your car stolen can be much more impactful than just losing a piece of property.  Many times, a vehicle is the most valuable asset that someone may own.  Other times, a vehicle may be the only means a community member has to get to their job that makes the wages to pay for their rent, food, and utilities or to support their family. 

Frequently, full coverage insurance that would cover the cost of vehicle replacement for theft is not carried. We recognize that being victimized by having your car stolen can be impactful, financially devastating, and have lasting effects. 

We also know that frequently, stolen vehicles are taken as part of other crimes taking place in our community or those stolen vehicles are used in other crimes, causing more harm to our community.  Our goal is to reduce the number of crime victims.  

These two recent cases in Bend involving stolen cars highlight the overall impact these crimes can have on our community and detail how one stolen car can have such a negative impact. 

In the first case on Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 8:43 a.m., Bend Police Officers responded to a business for the report of a stolen truck that just occurred.  The truck was last seen driving eastbound on Northeast Irving Avenue, towards Fifth Street.  The victim told officers that his cell hone was in his truck when it was stolen while left parked and running at an area business.   

A few minutes later, officers received a report of a hit and run at the intersection of NE Greenwood Avenue and Fifth Street, where the stolen truck was involved. The victim of the hit-and-run sustained minor injuries.

Officers were able to track the victim’s phone in real time and provide continual updates to local law enforcement agencies.

About a half hour, after the truck was stolen it was located in Redmond by Deschutes County sheriff's deputies. Law enforcement attempted to stop the truck, but the driver refused to stop and continued driving, leading law enforcement on two short pursuits. The pursuits were quickly discontinued due to concerns for community safety.

Bend Police Officers and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies tracked the stolen truck and suspect into Crooked River Ranch.  The suspect abandoned the truck and the suspect was located a short distance away from it. The suspect was arrested and the truck, with moderate front-end damage, was returned to the victim.

The second case occurred on Saturday around 8:06 a.m., when Bend police officers responded to a report of a stolen truck that occurred overnight, where it was parked in front of a residence. The victim reported that two firearms (a Glock pistol and a Ruger rifle) and ammunition were in the GMC pickup, which he had left locked when he parked.

About three hours later,  the victim called police to report that he located his vehicle near Clausen Drive. The victim followed his vehicle and called law enforcement. saying there were two men in the stolen truck.

Officers located the truck pulling into a local coffee shop. They attempted to contact the suspects, who tried to elude officers by leaving the parking lot.

Due to traffic, the suspects in the stolen truck were unable to flee the scene. The driver got out of the truck and ran from the area, and he was arrested a short distance away.  The passenger then moved into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away when he collided with another vehicle, causing minimal damage to the vehicle he struck. The passenger who got into the driver’s seat was taken into custody as well.  

Officers found one of the victim’s firearms in the stolen truck, however one of the firearms was not recovered at this time.

During the investigation, officers learned that the two men who stole the truck were using methamphetamine and the outstanding firearm had been given to a person with previous felony convictions and was restricted from possessing firearms.

Officers learned the person was staying at a residence in southwest Bend. Officers applied for and were granted a search warrant for the person and the residence he was staying at.

The Central Oregon Emergency Response Team (CERT) was called in to assist with the execution of the warrant. Prior to the warrant being served, the person left the residence in a vehicle and was taken into custody at the Riverwoods Country Store.

About 10 hours after the vehicle was reported stolen, the CERT team members and Bend police officers served the warrant at the residence.

During the warrant service, the outstanding firearm was located. Bend Police contacted one male at the residence who had two outstanding warrants for his arrest and a female was contacted and issued criminal citations for Forgery II, Criminal Possession of Forged Instrument and Attempted Theft III.

At least 1/3 of stolen vehicles left unlocked; keys in it 25% of time

The Bend Police Department is committed to utilizing a data-driven model in working towards reducing and preventing crime.  We look to address crime prevention and reduction through a problem-solving approach, utilizing a variety of strategies to address the issue. The utilization of data allows us to focus our limited resources on specific crime problems or trends that are impacting our community. 

After a review and analysis of the 2020 crime data, we can see there has been a trend developing that shows an increase of reported stolen vehicles in the City of Bend by 56.5 % from 2019.  This was an increase of 124 stolen vehicles in 2019 to 195 stolen vehicles in 2020.  The analysis of the crime data shows us that;

  • That about 25% of the time vehicles were stolen, the keys had been left inside the vehicle.
  • Vehicles were left unlocked in approximately 31.7% of cases and an additional 12.9% of victims were unaware if their car was locked or not.  In 21.8% of the remaining cases, Officers could not determine if a vehicle had been unlocked or not. 
  • Some of the stolen vehicles had weapons, such as handguns or rifles, left inside the car by the owner.
  • About 35% of the time vehicles were stolen from a street or alleyway and about 20% of the time vehicles were stolen from a parking lot or public driveway.
  • The most common brand of vehicles stolen in Bend is Honda, Subaru, Toyota and Ford. 
  • Most vehicles were stolen between the early morning hours between 5 and 6 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 
  • It is believed a high number of vehicles are stolen when people are starting their cars and leave them unattended while the vehicle warms up.

In recognizing the impact that this crime has on our community, over the next three months, the Bend Police Department will be employing a variety of strategies, including education, investigation and enforcement, and collaboration to reduce the number of victims of stolen vehicles and reduce the overall crime impact in our community. 

McConkey told NewsChannel 21, "We don’t have a conclusion on why there is such a big jump in cases. We hope our plan and strategies will help identify the possible reasons and reduce the thefts."

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