ST. GEORGE — The theft of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck from a St. George auto dealership early Wednesday morning was captured on surveillance footage and a reward is being offered to help catch the suspects.
The incident took place at St. George Auto Gallery on 700 South where a charcoal gray 2014 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was taken from the lot by two individuals.
St. George Auto Gallery owner Ted Wheeler said he is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to recovery of the Toyota or for information that leads to the arrest of the suspects involved in the theft.
See the video in media player top of this report.
The incident began at 4:13 in the morning; the exact time is provided by the dealership’s surveillance footage that was retrieved once employees noticed the Toyota truck missing.
The surveillance video shows a man walking through the car lot and then retracing his steps back to the Toyota truck that is parked at the end of a line of vehicles, Wheeler said.
The suspect is then seen standing on the driver’s side of the truck near the window for just under a minute before running from the lot, heading north on 1100 East on foot.
The man in the footage is wearing dark pants, a gray or white sweatshirt and a light-colored baseball cap.
Wheeler said a lock box containing keys is affixed to the driver’s side window of each vehicle. This allows the salesman to gain access to the cars as they show them to potential buyers without needing to retrieve each set of keys from the office.
When the lot opened Wednesday employees noticed the empty space on the lot where the Tacoma was showcased the previous evening. Shattered glass was left behind in its place.
Wheeler surmised the man broke the driver’s side window to grab the lock box and then ran from the lot.
The footage then shows that 84 minutes later, at 5:37 a.m. a woman approaches the truck wearing dark colored pants and a gray hooded sweatshirt or jacket. The woman appears to have long blond hair that is pulled up into a bun.
Within 18 seconds of her coming into view of the camera she starts the truck and is seen backing up. At 5:38 a.m. the woman is seen pulling out of the lot and heading north on 1100 East.
Wheeler said the hour or so between the man smashing the window and the woman coming onto the lot was the time it took for the suspect to break the lock box open to retrieve the key.
Wheeler said he also found it strange that a two-door passenger car, possibly a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, was seen passing the car lot two minutes later heading south on 1100 East. A second vehicle, a white hatchback passenger car, was observed traveling the same direction a moment later, he added. Both cars could be seen turning right on 700 South to head west.
Wheeler contacted the St. George Police Department to file a theft report and an officer came out to investigate.
The theft surprised everyone working at the car lot, he said.
“We are offering a $1,000 reward for information and the recovery of our car,” Wheeler said, “or the incarceration of the individuals that did it.”
The business owner also made it clear that the lock boxes that previously held the keys to each vehicle are no longer in use once the lot closes for the night to prevent this type of theft from occurring in the future.
Anyone who recognizes the individuals in the surveillance footage or has information about this case is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.
This report is based on statements from the business owner and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.