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BFPD investigating vehicle theft

| March 28, 2024 1:00 AM

Bonners Ferry Police officers were dispatched to assist a transport officer under contract with Turning Winds School in Troy, Mont., Turning Winds School is a therapeutic boarding school for teenagers suffering mental health and substance abuse disorders.

A Turning Winds resident was being transported to a medical facility in Coeur d’Alene when the transport driver made a brief stop at the Boundary Community Hospital. While at the hospital, the male juvenile allegedly battered the transport driver and possibly a health care provider, fleeing on foot into the area. The juvenile allegedly has a history of burglary and auto theft. Per policy, The Herald does not identify juveniles.

Officers from the Bonners Ferry Police Department, Boundary County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Border Patrol responded in an attempt to locate the teen. The search remained active in that neighborhood until approximately 12:20 a.m. Monday when a vehicle crash was reported  in the southbound lane of U.S. north of the Bonners Ferry city limits. However, the driver fled in the vehicle before first responders arrived on scene.

During the crash investigation, it was discovered the vehicle had lost its front bumper with an attached license plate when it hit the guardrail in two separate locations at high speed. The vehicle, a gray 2005 Acura sedan was registered to an address in the neighborhood where attempts to locate the teen had been underway for several hours.

Shortly after the crash, a witness who saw the vehicle moments before at the Sturgeon Station  was able to identify the teen via photograph as the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. The vehicle was later confirmed to have been stolen from the owner’s driveway.

At approximately 12:30 a.m, a possible prowler was reported in the W. Monroe Street area, where an individual whose description matches that of the teen, was allegedly chased from a garage by a homeowner.

As a result of the sighting, officers redirected their search efforts to the South Hill neighborhood and in the process, located the heavily damaged Acura abandoned in the area of Denver and Jackson streets. 

Officers also found several parked cars in the immediate area with their doors open and vehicles possibly ransacked.

The South Hill neighborhoods were searched until approximately 4:30 a.m. when a Van Buren Street resident reported her Chevrolet Trailblazer had been stolen along with financial transaction cards. The resident advised that the cards had already been used in Samuels in Bonner County as well as Libby, Mont., police officials said.

The suspect and vehicle had been entered into the National Crime Information Center so law enforcement nationwide who may come into contact with either would know they were dealing with a wanted person and vehicle.

BFPD officials said the department was contacted by a police officer in Poulson, Mont., at about 9 a.m. Monday, reporting the youth had been apprehended and the Trailblazer recovered. An arrest warrant for the teen has been issued out of Boundary County for two counts of grand theft, with numerous felony and misdemeanor charges to follow. The investigation is ongoing.

Extradition efforts are underway.

Anyone with information regarding the incident, or who thinks they may be a victim, is urged to contact the Bonners Ferry Police Department at 208- 267-2412 and speak with the lead investigating Officer, Brandon Johnson.