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Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force Locates Vehicles Stolen from Car Dealership

State detectives arrest prime suspect

Monday, December 12, 2016 -

Contact PIO

For Immediate Release

Tucson, Arizona — On December 6, 2016, the Tucson Police Department requested the assistance of the Tucson Vehicle Theft Task Force (VTTF) which is administered by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The case involved a local car dealership that had been burglarized in which three vehicles and 30 sets of keys were stolen from the business.

Detectives from the VTTF worked with the dealership to electronically locate one of the vehicles, a 2008 BMW, at a nearby apartment complex. Detectives searched the area and located the other two stolen vehicles, a 2012 Ford F250 and a 2008 Dodge Ram, at two different apartments nearby. Surveillance was initiated and a suspect was seen moving the BMW. After he was out of the vehicle, VTTF detectives moved in. The suspect is identified as Ernesto Garcia, 20, of Tucson. Further investigation by state detectives resulted in the recovery of 30 sets of keys for the vehicles. Garcia was also free on bond for a pending Tucson Police Department auto theft case involving a firearm and aggravated assault. He was booked on multiple felony charges including:

1 count of Burglary 3rd degree (for the business burglary)
3 counts of Theft by Means of Transportation
3 counts of Burglary 3rd degree for each of the three vehicles

“Due to the diligent work of the Task Force Detectives, we were able to make an arrest and recover all three stolen vehicles,” said Sergeant Todd Berson of the Vehicle Theft District.

The Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force (AVTTF) is comprised of city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies participating in a concerted effort to identify, apprehend, and prosecute individuals and criminal organizations that profit from the theft of motor vehicles and related crimes. The AVTTF provides a vital mission on behalf of the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority (AATA) to reduce vehicle theft in Arizona by deterring criminal activity through aggressive, proactive enforcement and by creating a public awareness through community education. Through continued grant funding from AATA, the AVTTF will continue to provide exemplary services to the citizens of Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.