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“Ghost town” Leads to Discovery of Stolen Vehicle

Case#: 20-002053

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Chico, CA-
Due to the Governor’s Stay-At Home Order, many of the reasons for being located in the Downtown Chico Area have been temporarily paused. With the lack of bar activity, the vehicle traffic in the downtown area is nearly non-existent in the early morning hours. Often there are more Chico Police Patrol Vehicles driving at any given time than residents. What does this mean for car thief’s? Bad news.

On 4/4/20 at approximately 11:54 PM, Officer Stelzner observed a green Honda Civic traveling eastbound on W. 9th Street within the downtown area. As it was the only vehicle on the road, he paid particular attention to it. During a routine check of its registration status, Officer Stelzner discovered that the vehicle was stolen. Officer Stelzner attempted to conduct a high risk vehicle stop, however, the vehicle pulled into a gas station in the area of E. 11th Street and Park Avenue. When the stolen vehicle came to a stop, the driver immediately fled and jumped over a fence into a backyard.

Officers quickly established a perimeter and began searching backyards for the suspect. K9 Officer Cox and his partner Pax assisted with the search and ultimately discovered the suspect hiding on the property. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. He was identified as Colton Smith (20 years old) of Orland. Smith was arrested for Resisting Arrest, Vehicle Theft, Possessing a Controlled Substance and Trespassing. Smith was later transported to Butte County Jail.

Location: E. 11th Street and Park Ave, Chico
Date/Time: 4/4/20 11:54 PM
Incident Case Number: 20-002053
Victims: State of California
Suspect: Colton Smith (20 yrs old) of Orland
Supervisor: Sgt. Nick Bauer
Watch Commander: Commander Keeney

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