WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) – Earlier this week, a Wheat Ridge Patrol officer stumbled across a stolen vehicle without any suspect inside. He did, however, discover a revealing piece of evidence that helped him solve the case in a matter of minutes.

The patrol officer found the vehicle in the American Motel parking lot, located at 10101 W Interstate 70 Frontage Road, and began writing up the report after searching it. During that search, a prescription bottle with personal information on it was found.

Wheat Ridge Police Department – the stolen vehicle that the prescription bottle was found in

The officer followed the lead, looking up the name on the bottle in the police department’s database. At the same time that the photo of the prescription holder popped up, the patrol officer spotted that person walking away from the motel.

When asked to stop, the suspect refused before taking the officer on a short foot chase, which ended without any further incident.

“We would like to commend the WRPD Patrol Officer who spotted a piece of evidence that allowed us to hold someone accountable for Motor Vehicle Theft,” officials with the Wheat Ridge Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.

Now, after a two-week wait, the victim, in this case, is set to have her property returned to her.

The state of auto thefts in Colorado

A worrying statistic was released by Wheat Ridge Police on Wednesday, revealing that 178 motor vehicles were reported stolen to them between January and Thursday. When you average that out, that equals 1.47 cars being stolen a day in their jurisdiction.

That figure pales in comparison to the reported 33 that are being plucked from their owner’s parking spots in Denver on a daily basis. Since the outset of 2022, the Denver Police Department received over 6000 reports of stolen vehicles, which is more than a doubling of the year-to-date average.

“Colorado has the single highest rate of auto theft of any of the 50 states, we are number one across the country,” Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said. 

Be sure to keep your vehicles locked at all times when unattended and adopt these habits to make sure you’re not the next person calling in a stolen vehicle report to your local police department.

  • Lock your car, keep your windows up and always take your keys with you
  • Don’t keep valuables or spare keys inside them
  • Never leave your car running even for a short period
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Use an alarm system or wheel lock device