A high intensity effort to address a surge in stolen vehicle cases in Clark County has led to the arrest of 32 people on 46 new charges and the recovery of 19 stolen vehicles — including one returned to the owner 30 minutes after it was taken.
The weeks-long emphasis on stolen vehicles was a joint effort by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Clark County Jail and the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
It was in response to what the statement described as a dramatic increase in stolen vehicles in Clark County in the last 12 months and was carried out despite record staffing shortages in the jail and the sheriff’s office’s enforcement division.
“The focus of the emphasis was to locate and arrest individuals who were in possession of stolen vehicles, recover the vehicles, book the individuals into jail and ensure that they were charged for these crimes,” the statement said. “This emphasis would not have been possible without the cooperation of the entire jail staff, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the dedicated deputies of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.”
The statement said additional assistance was provided by the Vancouver Police Department and Portland Police Bureau.
In addition to the vehicle recoveries and arrests, the emphasis resulted in the clearing of 17 warrants and recovery of one firearm, the statement said.
In one instance, detectives noticed a vehicle with multiple occupants in the parking lot of a store in Hazel Dell, then watched as one person got out and stole the vehicle parked next to it.
“When sufficient resources were obtained, both vehicles were stopped and all of the occupants were detained,” the statement said. “Several arrests were made and the vehicle was returned to its owner within 30 minutes.”