One stolen car case, explained

A few weeks ago, we rode along with the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force. It was a quiet day for them, but here’s how it went:

They got a hit for a stolen 2012 Mazda. The car had an electronic-tracking device called LoJack. The device notified the detectives. The car was somewhere near Sultan.

It was go time.

We found the car ditched in the parking lot at Gold Bar Elementary. The driver’s door was ajar. No suspect in sight.

The detectives called the owner, Jim Schaad, 54, of Gold Bar.

Schaad showed up and gave detectives permission to search the car. The door panels were popped off, the stock speakers snagged. Electronic equipment was missing, as well as sweaters Schaad bought in Norway.

Schaad lives on a dirt road, so the car was too dusty to collect fingerprints, detective Eric Fagan said. Empty soda bottles in the car turned out to be Schaad’s — no hope of DNA evidence.

The detectives hoped to catch the thief in action.

The task force gets a couple of LoJack hits a month, Sgt. Jason Longoria said. Their police cars have tracking antennae mounted on the roofs. They use three cars to triangulate the GPS locations.

Occasionally, the stolen cars are parked at the suspect’s house. That’s probably more fun.

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