The number of cases involving stolen vehicles in Douglas County has seen a dramatic increase compared to last year, according to local law enforcement agencies.
The Roseburg Police Department has seen the number of reported stolen vehicle cases double compared to the same time period, Jan. 1 to March 16, in 2016, rising from 17 cases to 34 — a 100 percent increase.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has also experienced an increase, having its stolen vehicle cases rise 43 percent from 23 to 33 cases during the same time period.
The rash of motor vehicle thefts, as described by Roseburg police spokesman Gary Klopfenstein, has been predominately Honda cars.
Over the weekend, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office arrested six people in connection with car thefts.
On March 11, a deputy observed a 2000 Honda Civic driving southbound on Highway 101 near Reedsport at approximately 8 p.m. The deputy soon learned that the vehicle had been reported stolen and pulled the vehicle over.
The driver, William Edwin Bosley, 35, of Myrtle Creek, was taken into custody on suspicion of second-degree theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a parole violation and a probation violation.
The passenger, Benjamin Malone, 30, of Roseburg, was taken into custody for methamphetamine possession.
On March 12, deputies developed probable cause to search a residence in the 400 block of Harmony Drive, Roseburg, and later obtained a search warrant. While searching the area, deputies found evidence of vehicle theft at the property.
Deputies then arrested Justice Colleen Austin, 26, Lora Maree Griffin, 40, Jeffery Josiah Burt, 38, and Bud Lee Levin, 30, all of Roseburg.
Austin was arrested on an outstanding warrant for heroin possession. Griffin was arrested on suspicion of methamphetamine possession. Burt was arrested on suspicion of heroin possession, and Levin was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant.
All were transported to the Douglas County Jail and lodged.
Klopfenstein encouraged people to take measures to prevent thefts and to keep their vehicles secure. He said to lock all of the doors, roll up the vehicle’s windows, park in a well-lit area, and use anti-theft devices like steering wheel locking mechanisms. Klopfenstein also reminded people not to leave the keys in the vehicle.