Suspect sought in attempted theft of Jeep

By Joseph Altman Jr.

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Police are searching for a male suspect after the University of Arizona Police Department received two reports of attempted auto theft Monday.

The suspect was seen tampering with a 1992 Jeep Wrangler near the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, 1050 N. Cherry Dr., at 2:55 p.m. Four males who witnessed the incident flagged down a patrolling UAPD officer about 15 minutes later.

The vehicle's steering column was damaged and had several grooves and scratches in it. The driver's side rearview mirror was bent down and cracked at the base, and the ignition had something jammed into it and was off-center, police reports stated.

Police broadcast a description of the suspect and began looking for him in the area, but were unsuccessful.

One witness told police he saw the suspect reach into the Jeep and tamper with the steering column. The witness then realized the Jeep did not belong to the suspect The car was believed to be owned by another member of the fraternity.

Another witness reported hearing the suspect "whapping" an object against the steering column of the vehicle.

One of the witnesses said he had a short conversation with the suspect after he asked the suspect what he was doing. The suspect said it was his car, but then changed his story and said the car belonged to a friend, according to the witness.

Police were unable to recover any fingerprints from the vehicle, but the four witnesses were able to provide enough information for detectives to produce a composite sketch.

UAPD is looking for a white male, about 6-feet tall with a thin build and missing or crooked teeth. He has long dark hair and was seen wearing a dark shirt and blue jeans. The suspect was carrying a dark book bag.

With a composite sketch, officers now have one more implement to aid in an arrest, said Detective Sgt. Sal Celi of UAPD.

"The purpose is to give the officer a tool to locate people who match the description," Celi said. He also hopes for the public's assistance.

"We want the public to call in and say, 'Hey, that looks like this person,' and we'll take it from there," Celi said.

Celi said getting the composite out is just the first step of an auto theft investigation. What makes the investigation difficult, he said, is the fact that the crime is usually a simple one.

"Car theft is not a hard thing," Celi said. "It's really easy. I think it took TPD eight seconds to (demonstrate it).

In the second incident, a woman reported that her 1988 Pontiac Grand Am was damaged

Read Next Article