Three Placerville teen-agers were arrested Tuesday and booked into the El Dorado County Jail in South Lake Tahoe on suspicion of auto theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.
The arrests of Elija Kidwell, Brian Barnes and Sean Murphy, all 18, followed the theft of two vehicles – one of which has been recovered – and the taking of property from several other vehicles in South Lake Tahoe during a 16-hour period from 7 p.m. Monday through 11 a.m. Tuesday.
A third vehicle was stolen while the three suspects were being booked, and police are searching for additional members of what is believed to be “part of this same group from Placerville,” said Tracy Franklin, a city South Lake Tahoe spokesperson.
Officers are asking the public to report any sightings of the two unrecovered autos and also in reporting any additional thefts of items that are believed to have been taken from other vehicles.
The thefts took place in front of residences, motels and in the parking lots of other businesses.
The spree began when a white 1991 Jeep Cherokee was stolen from in front of a home on Bowers Avenue. The still-missing Cherokee displays California license plate 2WLV403 in a bright yellow rear license-plate frame. It has orange and red stripes on the sides and several bumper stickers on the back.
At about 10:40 p.m. Monday, less than a mile away, a 1991 Subaru Outback was stolen from the parking lot of Inn by the Lake. It has since been recovered.
At about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, a man reported seeing at least three men stealing items out of his unlocked vehicle in front of his house on Lodi Avenue. When he went to investigate, the suspects fled in the stolen Subaru Outback. Police responded and found the Subaru abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby motel.
El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies assisted police officers in searching the area, and the three suspects were located at the Grocery Outlet, 2358 Lake Tahoe Blvd., where at least one other victim had already discovered a theft from their unlocked vehicle in the parking lot.
The victim from Lodi Avenue identified the suspects to police, Franklin said, and the three men were found in possession of stolen property from the Subaru, as well as from other burglarized vehicles.
While they were being booked at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, a third vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of McDonald’s at 1035 Emerald Bay Road. That vehicle, a forest-green 1996 Subaru Legacy sedan with CA plates of 6AON070, is still missing