Car theft business is brisk

By Cathy Logg

Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Police are trying to put the brakes on the many "hot rollers" — otherwise known as stolen cars — that pass through or are abandoned in this city.

In just the past two days, "hot roller" investigations have led to the arrests of five people and the recovery of three stolen cars, Marysville Police Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said Thursday.

And it’s not just Marysville. Police in Everett report seeing a spike in stolen car reports. The problem seems to be plaguing all of northern Snohomish County, too, authorities said.

The latest arrest and recovery in Marysville had police blocking one lane of State Avenue and the driveway of the City Center Motel about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Curious bystanders watched from motel room doors and the sidewalk as officers moved in.

A routine license check of a gray Isuzu Rodeo had shown it was stolen from Everett a few hours earlier. Six officers responded and ended up arresting two teen-agers and a 20-year-old, all from Everett.

That was one of three stolen vehicles city officers have located, Krusey said.

"They’re proactive. They’re out there running the licenses. We recognize that auto thefts and vehicle prowls are a real problem, and we’re doing everything we can to stem this rising tide of crimes," Krusey said.

On Wednesday, an officer on patrol came across a suspicious vehicle that turned out to be stolen, and the driver led police on a chase to Arlington and back. Police arrested one Marysville man and a county resident.

"We’re getting our share of stolen cars," Sgt. Darin Rasmussen. "But it’s not just Marysville. It’s all of north (Snohomish) County."

Everett police are confronting the same problem.

"We’ve been having a huge amount all through December," Everett Police Lt. Kathy Atwood said. Although she didn’t have statistics, she estimated that the thefts have increased significantly over last year.

Krusey said Marysville has seen its stolen car reports rise, too. For example, this November, 22 cars were stolen in Marysville, more than the previous November, he said.

"It’s been the whole year," Krusey said. "There’s no question about that. The numbers are up significantly."

Most of them are being recovered intact, rather than stripped for a chop shop. That’s a good indication the cars are being used for transportation and for other crimes, he said.

In the past, criminals often rented cars to transport drugs because if they’re caught and the car is seized, it’s not their personal car. Now, thieves find it easy to steal cars to further their criminal pursuits.

And in a stolen car, the thieves have a better chance of getting away with it if the aren’t caught because police may not know the identity of the driver.

Officers recovered the third stolen car Thursday, about two blocks from the motel. It, too, was stolen from Everett, Krusey said.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether any of the thefts are connected, he said.

You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437 or send e-mail to

logg@heraldnet.com.

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