Shortly after 7:00pm on Wednesday evening, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department were dispatched to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 2600 Block of El Corona Drive. The victim stated that he left his vehicle unattended for only a few short minutes, leaving the car unlocked with the push button start key fob inside. The victim also reported that their were multiple guns inside the stolen vehicle.
While officers were speaking with the victim, a call came out reporting a crash near the 600 Block of 28 Road. Dispatch was able to confirm that the description of the crashed vehicle matched that of the car stolen from El Corona Drive. Officers responded to the area, and were able to confirm that the cars were one and the same.
A witness stated that he saw a male running from the scene after the crash. A K9 officer with the Fruita Police Department responded and performed a track in an effort to locate the suspect. During the track, a male was found hiding in some bushes. The male was given orders and refused to comply with officers. Due to the possibility of the male being armed with weapons from the stolen vehicle, and his refusal to comply with instructions from officers, the K9 was released. With the help of the K9 partner, officers were able to get the suspect into custody without further incident. The keys to the stolen vehicle were found in the suspect’s pants pocket.
The suspect was identified as 58 year old Gary Johnson of Grand Junction. Johnson was found to have an active warrant for his arrest for failure to comply on a felony DUI charge. Johnson’s driving privileges were revoked due to three prior alcohol convictions.
While en route to the Mesa County Jail, Johnson stated that the only reason he stole the vehicle was because he missed the bus while trying to get to a friend’s house.
Johnson was booked into the Mesa County Jail on charges of 1st Degree Motor Vehicle Theft, Driving While Restrained, and Obstructing Police.
We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners at the Fruita Police Department for their assistance in this case. We are fortunate to have great, collaborative public safety relationships in Mesa County.
Please remember to keep your doors locked and your keys with you whenever you are away from your vehicle. No one deserves to be a victim of a crime of opportunity.