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Teen held as suspect in car-theft spree.

Byline: The Register-Guard

YONCALLA - A 16-year-old California boy suspected of stealing three cars was unable to elude Douglas County deputies in a desperate attempt to get out of the area.

The teen, from Yreka, Calif., was arrested at noon Monday after an alleged crime spree that began at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. That's when a deputy saw a 1989 Pontiac that appeared to be overheating on Eagle Valley Road near Boswell Road. As the deputy approached, the driver ran away. The deputy soon learned why when he contacted the car's registered owner in Pendleton: The car had been stolen.

The next morning, at about 2:30 a.m., a deputy again was driving on Eagle Valley Road when he came upon a 1993 Chrysler van sitting in the middle of the road. The driver ran when the deputy approached. The deputy contacted the registered owner in Yoncalla and learned that the van had also been stolen.

At 5 a.m., a deputy on Interstate 5 near Rice Hill tried to stop a 1985 Toyota he believed was being driven by the person who stole the other two cars. The driver tried to speed away but crashed the car as it tried to exit the freeway.

The driver got out and ran toward the K&R Drive-Inn. Deputies searched the area and saw the teen about 8:25 a.m. in a nearby field. He had a handgun and refused to obey orders. He soon disappeared into the brush.

Oregon State Police and the Douglas County SWAT team joined the search. They found him in a barn north of Thurman Road. A state police trooper spoke with the boy and convinced him to surrender.

The boy was carrying a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun that he said he stole from a car near Walla Walla, Wash. He was being held at the juvenile detention center on three counts of car theft, attempting to elude police, unlawful possession of a firearm and first-degree theft by receiving.
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Title Annotation:Crime
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 11, 2005
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