Suspected serial car thieves elude Rifle police in chase
A pair of suspected car thieves led law enforcement on a dangerous car chase through Rifle Monday evening before evading capture.
“It is our belief that these people are responsible for multiple vehicle thefts in Rifle,” said Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein.
The suspects, a man and a woman, are still at large.
Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies first spotted the pair traveling eastbound on Interstate 70. The car headed into Rifle on Highway 6, and Rifle police joined the pursuit, but the Rifle officer in primary pursuit eventually stopped the chase out of concern for public safety.
“Once (the officer) determined that they were operating the vehicle too carelessly – he called off the chase,” Klein said.
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At one point, an officer observed the vehicle slow down and a male jumped from the car.
After calling off the chase, police found the vehicle, a Chevrolet Trailblazer that had been reported stolen the morning of Dec. 29, on Munro between East Sixth and Seventh streets.
Police set up a perimeter around the car, but were unable to locate either suspect.
While police don’t usually talk about active investigations, Klein said he felt it was important to share information due to the high-speed chase.
In a post to the Rifle Police Department’s Facebook page, “There are a total of four vehicles reported stolen within a 48 hour period in Rifle,” Klein said. “We believe these suspects are responsible for all of these cases.”
Other thefts in Parachute could be related, but authorities are not sure.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office encourages people to lock their cars, particularly at night.
All the thefts have occurred after dark and before 5:30 a.m.
To be vigilant against potential theft, the Sheriff’s office advises people to never leave their car unattended while running, even to warm it up, and not to leave extra keys in the vehicle or a hidden box near the car.
Whenever possible, leaving a car in a well-lit area, visible to passersby, can decrease the likelihood of theft.
Leaving valuables in a car can also attract would-be thieves.
If you notice suspicious persons hanging around the car, the sheriff’s office advises people to take a picture, as long as that doesn’t put you in danger, and call authorities.
The non-emergency dispatch line is 970-625-8095.
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