Dealers post reward for car thieves

Car dealers in Oak Harbor are offering $2,000 in reward money for information about the thieves who stole cars from their lots.

Rick Rennebohm, owner of Frontier Chevrolet Pontiac, said a “brand new 2004 Grand Prix” was taken from his lot “just after it came off the truck.”

The thief or thieves entered the vehicle by breaking the trunk lock and crawling through the trunk and over the fold-down back seat. They then smashed the ignition lock and managed to start the car.

An Island County deputy found the $35,000 Pontiac Grand Prix Aug. 28 along Monkey Hill Road.

Sgt. Jerry Baker with Oak Harbor police said the Grand Prix suffered extensive damage, including several dents, cut battery cables and large patches where the paint job was sanded off. He surmises that the thief sanded the car to make it look older.

“Looks like they took it on a real joy ride,” Baker said. He added that the damage probably cuts the car’s value by a third.

A few weeks early, someone stole a used Honda Integra from Rennebohm’s Frontier Auto Outlet at Sharp’s Corner. It was later found in the Krieg gravel pit with the motor, transmission and interior missing.

Whidbey Island Ford manager Keven Helwick said someone stole a 2000 Toyota 4-Runner from his lot Memorial Day night, stole the keys from inside a building, and then drove the vehicle up the hill behind Wal-Mart and took the seats out. “Someone saw them pulling the seats but they were gone by the time the cops got there,” he said.

Baker said another 4-Runner was seen driving from the area where the stolen vehicle was dumped. He said the seats from the stolen vehicle were probably put in the other vehicle.

Rennebohm and Helwick are both offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves. “Rat on a rat,” said Rennebohm, by calling 675-6004.

(Assistant editor Jessie Stensland contributed to this story.)

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