Thieves from Memphis hit Hillsboro car dealership

Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY (KMOV) -- The Hillsboro Police Department is investigating the theft of a 2014 high-performance Jeep Cherokee from Next LVL Auto Sales on Highway 21. The theft happened around 2:14 a.m. and was caught on surveillance video.

According to police, two women and a man drove to the lot from Memphis in a stolen Kia. The owner of the dealership, Justin Bondurant, said they drove past more expensive vehicles and right to the Jeep.

“They had some kind of code reader. They plugged it in and programmed a key right there on site. And put the key in and started the vehicle up,” he said.

At the same time, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed the suspicious activity at the business and can be seen on the surveillance video pulling onto the lot. The video showed one suspect driving off in the Jeep and the deputy taking the two women into custody.

Bondurant said the Jeep had a tracking device, and he was able to follow its movements down I-55 and called police departments to alert them. He said the vehicle crashed south of Blytheville, Arkansas, and police told him the suspect stole another vehicle and then fled on foot after crashing it also.

The case was turned over to the Hillsboro Police Department. Bondurant said he was upset when he heard police released the two female suspects the next day.

“Obviously, they’re not from this state, they’re not here anymore. So, the chances of them coming back and any justice being served, even if charges are filed, is probably pretty slim,” he said.

Cpt. Darrick Curtis told News 4 that the case involved multiple police jurisdictions in two states and that the investigation couldn’t be completed in one day because of the complexities of the case. He said the suspects couldn’t be held longer than 24 hours.

“If you send over a weak case, there’s a chance it doesn’t go to court, it doesn’t get adjudicated or anything like that. So, by taking the additional time at the outset, we’re able to ensure we have a really solid case put together when we get to that point,” said Curtis.

He added that officers have the names, addresses and phone numbers of the two female suspects and that he’s confident officers will be able to find and arrest them when charges are filed.