By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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A black 2010 Scion van was reported Monday to have been stolen from Ruddell Auto Mall at 110 Golf Course Road, Port Angeles Deputy Chief Brian Smith said in a statement.
At the same time, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office was investigating a report of an abandoned vehicle of the same description on Place Road, just west of Port Angeles.
Deputies subsequently recovered the stolen vehicle and found it to be missing some engine parts, the wheels, most of the interior parts and the seats, Smith said.
An alert was sent out to area auto dealers, and some dealers made immediate changes in their security procedures, he said.
Police determined from a security video that the window of the van was broken, and the lockbox, which contained the key to the van, was taken at 7:35 p.m. Sunday.
Smith said the thief apparently retrieved the key from the lockbox at another location and, at about 9:30 p.m., returned to the dealership and drove away with the van.
The vehicle was towed back to the dealership Monday, and investigators Tuesday recovered the vehicle’s seats at a location on the Lower Elwha reservation, Smith said.
The wheels have not been recovered, he said.
“We’re actively working the case,” Smith said Wednesday.
“We’re following up on some leads and possible suspects.”
Ruddell Auto Mall owner Howie Ruddell was not immediately available for comment.
“The big concern was the key box being taken out of it,” Smith said.
“Those are hard boxes to penetrate.”
Smith said it would have taken a welding device or “something more substantial than a sledgehammer, more substantial than a hacksaw,” to break the box.
The Port Angeles Police Department is working with the Lower Elwha Tribal Police and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the theft.
Recordings from security cameras at the auto dealership and nearby businesses are being reviewed by police.
Officers are viewing and analyzing available video from the auto dealer, from surrounding businesses and from other organizations.
Information related to this crime should be reported to the Port Angeles Police Department at 360-452-4545 or North Olympic Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
A reward of up to $1,000 is available for information leading to a felony arrest. Callers may remain anonymous.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen contributed to this report.