VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Clark County police responded to three separate car thefts in a four-hour period, early Monday morning.
Police responded to the first robbery in rural Clark County around 2 a.m., discovering a crashed pickup truck with a firearm and stolen license plates inside the car. The driver and occupants of the vehicle left the scene on foot according to police.
Police determined that the truck was stolen. It had been reported as a suspicious vehicle earlier in the morning, but the driver of the truck eluded police that tried to stop it.
The car was impounded, but the search to locate the suspects was abandoned due to a lack of night resources according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
Three hours later, there was a report of cars being prowled in a parking lot at 8910 NE Hazel Dell Ave. The suspect’s vehicle, described as a white 2006 Ford Econoline, was reported stolen on Sunday.
The car was located in a separate parking lot just minutes later near NE 6th Ave. and NE 78th St. But as officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the driver was able to evade police, escaping on I-5.
Police say that Clark County Sheriff’s Office policy, and Washington State law, restrict law enforcement from pursuing a fleeing vehicle or attempting to use tire deflation devices. When property crimes are the only alleged offense, officers also may not block or pin the vehicle prior to it becoming mobile.
Around 6 a.m., near NE 121st Ave and NE Fourth Plain Blvd., police were informed of a burglary in progress at a closed automotive business. Suspects were allegedly stealing tires from a storage area. Their vehicle was described as a new BMW with no license plates.
Moments later, police witnessed the BMW driving around the area with new tires, wrapped in packaging, inside the car. The suspects fled after police attempted to stop them — police policy and state law restrict the pursuit of suspects for nonviolent crimes.
Police say that suspects fleeing in stolen vehicles is a common nightly occurrence for officers, who currently have no legal authority to pursue the cars and no tactics within policy to safely address the occupied vehicle.
The three cases are still open, with no suspects identified.