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May 23, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
SLCPD Auto Theft Unit Successfully Conducts Stolen Car Operation
SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit recently conducted a stolen vehicle operation and recovered six stolen vehicles.
“Auto theft in Salt Lake City isn’t like it is in movies,” said Sgt. Richelle Bradley, who oversees the SLCPD Auto Theft Unit. “Having a vehicle stolen can have a devastating impact on the victim and can have lasting collateral financial consequences. Unfortunately, the phrase ‘drive it like it’s stolen’ is all too real. We often see stolen cars with significant damage to the point they are no longer drivable.”
On May 18 and May 19, 2022, the SLCPD Auto Theft Unit worked in collaboration with the SLCPD Liberty and Pioneer Bike Squads, the SLCPD Motors Squad, and the SLCPD Special Investigations Unit to saturate the city with officers and detectives to locate wanted car thieves, recover stolen vehicles, and to further in-progress investigations.
Officers recovered six stolen vehicles during the two day operation and issued 21 citations, including one DUI citation against a juvenile.
This is the second stolen car operation conducted in Salt Lake City in 2022.
In April 2022, Salt Lake City experienced a 27.8% decrease in stolen vehicles compared to the April monthly average over the past seven years. This equates to approximately 41 fewer victims than average.
“It’s not uncommon to have a car thief turn around and use the stolen vehicle to commit other crimes. We’ve seen stolen cars used in drive-by shootings, homicides, and robberies,” Sgt. Bradley said. “Knowing this, targeting specific car thieves and areas that are known to have stolen cars frequently can help us locate and arrest violent criminals before they can commit more crimes and victimize more people.”
One of the stolen vehicles recovered during the most recent operation had to be flagged for drug contamination after detectives recovered heavily used drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. Often, insurance companies may deem a vehicle unsafe if drug residue is located.
During the two-day operation, officers and detectives were on heightened alert looking for 33-year-old Caleb Sherman and a stolen Nissan Rogue. Detectives wanted to speak with Sherman as part of an ongoing sexual assault and carjacking investigation.
On May 20, 2022, an SLCPD bike officer and an Auto Theft detective working overtime shifts on North Temple Street spotted Sherman.
Sherman bolted from officers but quickly found himself out paced. After being arrested safely, officers searched Sherman and located illegal drugs. Officers booked Sherman into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. No additional details on this case are being released.
Ways to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen include keeping your vehicle always locked with the windows closed and the keys/fobs removed. Never leave your car idling unattended even for short periods of time. If possible, park in areas with good lighting, surveillance cameras, or security and parking attendants. If your vehicle has a security or anti-theft system use it. If not, have one installed or use a steering wheel lock. Vehicle locating technology can also be installed which would help in the recovery of your vehicle in the event it is stolen.
The Salt Lake City Police Department has a dedicated unit strictly to investigating auto theft. This unit is highly skilled and experienced. The detectives assigned to the SLCPD Auto Theft Unit not only follow up on cases by handling all auto theft investigations, but they deploy into the field to track down known vehicle theft offenders who have warrants or to look for, and recover, stolen vehicles. The SLCPD Auto Theft Unit periodically does multi-day operations, using various department resources and technology. These operations have an immediate and direct impact on other crimes being committed in Salt Lake City.
Charges are only allegations, and every arrested person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.