DENVER (KDVR) — Wheat Ridge Police officers made an arrest after tracking down a stolen U-Haul.
On Wednesday, a Wheat Ridge officer spotted a U-Haul that seemed out of place. Turns out it had been reported stolen that same morning. The truck was tracked into Denver and an arrest was made on the spot.
The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force closed in to make the arrest. The task force is a full-time, multi-jurisdictional task force focused on auto theft. This arrest was just one example of how they track down some of these thieves after keeping an eye out for suspicious vehicles.
“Let’s say we have an occupied stolen vehicle in one of those participating agencies at the time the team is working,” said John Pickard, a task force commander with the Lakewood Police Department. “We can send out recourses and then we can go after those occupied stolen vehicles to try and apprehend those suspects with minimal risk to the community. We don’t catch them every time, but every day we are going after them, and we have tactics to keep the community safe.”
The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force has been around since 2016, but it’s recently ramped up efforts. They say auto theft numbers are anywhere from 20-23% down this year from January to October.
“There were a hundred vehicles being stolen a month out of DIA (Denver International Airport), and we’ve got that down to about 30. Still too many, but we have been able to have a substantial impact out there as well,” Pickard said.
This year alone, the task force has recovered over 70 guns in stolen cars, highlighting that their focus may be stolen vehicles, but those vehicles could be used in more serious crimes.
“We have to do our very best to try and hold them accountable and understand that stolen vehicles are just a nexus to a lot of other serious crimes. So we really have to hold motor vehicle thieves to a higher level of accountability,” Pickard said.