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Twinkie Bandit Fills Criminal Appetite With Loaded Transport

(Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing investigation and privacy concerns, all names have been withheld)

HELENDALE:(VVNG.com)- A single car was not enough to fill the criminal appetite of a vehicle thief, who instead decided to steal an entire auto transport, loaded with nine Hondas of various makes and models.

Between the hours of 6:00 p.m. Thursday, July 10 and 3:00 a.m. Friday, July 11 the suspect took the loaded transport from an empty lot across the street from the Helendale post office. No signs of forced entry were obvious, with a preliminary investigation showing that the suspect may have picked the lock on the truck door.

The victim alerted authorities around 2:30 a.m. on Friday, when he returned to the lot and saw that his truck and its valuable cargo were gone. The San Bernardino County Auto Theft Task-force was notified and began investigating the theft.

Authorities used social media to alert the community about the missing vehicle, and in less than 12 hours detectives received a tip that led them to the location of the truck.

Just over a mile off of Route 66, the truck attempted to make a turn onto Copa De Oro Drive from an unnamed dirt road when it became stuck. Soft sand and a sharp turn stopped the thieves during their get-away; the front of the transport was driven approximately 15 feet into soft sand that was about six inches deep. The suspect had attempted to make a wide turn to allow the full-length trailer room to navigate the corner, but ended up stuck in the soft sand with no room left to move forward, as a fence blocked them from making a large enough turn.

Just under eight miles from where it was stolen, SANCATT investigators gathered evidence off of the vehicle, including a multitude of fingerprints. That was not all that was gathered, as a detective emerged from the cab holding a Twinkie box left by the perpetrator. Various other items were also collected for evidence.

“From the time SANCATT was notified early this morning, it was an ongoing investigation; we pursued all leads, and found the vehicle a short time later,” a SANCATT detective said.

A semi tow-truck was required to pull the auto transport out of the soft sand. Careful maneuvering and patience were required from both the tow-truck operator and the driver of the auto transport. The tow-truck driver stated the suspect may have driven a large truck before because of the road the suspect navigated down.

At this time, no suspects have been named, but there is no suspicion on the victim, and all keys have been accounted for. It is not immediately clear if the thief had a predetermined location they were going to hide the truck or if they were going to leave it at random in the desert and return for it in a few days. A SANCATT detective said that sometimes the vehicles are stripped for parts and other times the vehicles are sold to unsuspecting buyers who do not know that the cars are stolen.

Two cars on the top row of the transport showed damage, one with cracked rear-lights and another with a damaged windshield. Nothing obvious was taken from the truck or any of the cars, and damage appeared to be kept to a minimum, although a mechanic would be inspecting the truck for damages.

“SANCATT was able to track the location of the vehicle with the help of the local community,” said a detective with SANCATT, noting the vigilance shown by the community.

This investigation is ongoing and information will be updated as it is becomes available.

 

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