Rolling Hills auto thief believed ID’d
Clinton police say they have solved four auto thefts from the Rolling Hills area of town that occurred over the last few months.
The suspect is a 17-year-old Clinton juvenile. He was tied to the crimes during an investigation that followed the latest theft. It was reported Monday morning from a driveway in The Hills, and the vehicle that was taken was recovered about an hour after the report was received. It was found by Lt. Shane Harrelson in the nearby Wheatland Addition where it had run out of gas.
That was one of several newsworthy items police reported this week.
Others included an assault and battery of a Weatherford man who Detective Capt. Mike Murley said was lucky he hadn’t gotten an artery slashed when he was attacked at a local motel, the theft of a purse from an auto in the 300 block of S. Sixth Street, and the discovery of an auto registered in Oregon that had been stripped of its license tag, tires and wheels, and left in Acme Brick Park.
Then Wednesday morning Murley – who was returning from a month-long recuperation after being shot three times himself – got to respond personally with other officers to a short auto pursuit which ended with a local man taken into custody after he allegedly contacted his 13-year-old daughter when he had been ordered not to by a judge as one of his bond conditions in another case.
The stolen auto that led to the juvenile’s arrest and alleged ties to other thefts in Rolling Hills was owned by Ryan Sawatzky.
Murley said Sawatzky told police he parked his 2013 Chevrolet Impala in his driveway Sunday night at The Hills and when he came out about 7:30 a.m. Monday it was gone. Approximately an hour later Lieutenant Harrelson found it parked a few blocks away at the corner of Shale Crest and Dolomite in the Wheatland Addition.
“It was out of gas and did not appear to have any damages,” said Murley. “Mr. Sawatzky said it had very little gas in it when he parked it. However, he said he did inadvertently leave the keys in it with the doors unlocked.”
Some evidence that did not belong to Sawatzky was left in the car and may have been instrumental in police identifying the suspect, who was interviewed by Murley and Detective Sgt. Ray Hammans.
“He said he would just walk around the neighborhood early in the morning seeing if there were any unlocked vehicles and if the keys were in them,” said Murley. “If there were, he would take them.
“That’s the reason we urge people to keep their vehicles locked and remove the keys from them. This latest one, we found he had driven to Elk City and back. Another one had been driven to Hammon and another one to Seiling. Most times he would return them to near where they were stolen before people got up and around.”
The vehicle was returned undamaged to Sawatzky.
At 10:44 p.m. Saturday, said Murley, police were dispatched to the AllianceHealth Clinton hospital where Shawn Black, 25, of Weatherford, was in the emergency room with a three-inch laceration on the left side of his face and a six-inch one on his neck.
Officers determined he had been assaulted at the Glancy Motel, 216 Gary Blvd.
“It was reported there were at least three other subjects in the room at the time; however, the victim was extremely intoxicated,” said Murley. After obtaining very little information from the victim, including the names of his assailants, officers went to the Glancy themselves and collected evidence from the room where the assault had occurred. However, they did not find any witnesses.
“The injuries to Black were not life threatening, but he was very lucky they did not cut the artery in his neck,” said Murley.
Detective 1st Lt. Ron McLemore was assigned to investigate that case. He met again Monday with the victim, but Black was still unwilling to cooperate and did not wish to file charges.
“The young man was very lucky in my opinion,” repeated Murley, “that the attacker(s) did not get an artery. We’re going to continue to investigate and try to find out what happened.”
Asked if charges can be filed even if the victim does not wish to do so, assuming police do find out who the attacker(s) were, Murley said they can if the district attorney chooses. However, without the victim’s cooperation, it is much more difficult to make a case that will stand up in court.
Information developed at the time Murley was speaking did not make it clear to whom the room was rented.
Another case similar to the theft of Sawatzky’s car occurred on S. Sixth Street, except in that instance an auto belonging to Jessica Hernandez wasn’t stolen, it was just burglarized and her purse pilfered.
Murley said that Monday morning Ms. Hernandez reported parking her 2010 Ford F-150 pickup in the 300 block of S. Sixth and leaving it unlocked with her wallet in the center console. When she returned to the pickup, the wallet was missing.
“It had no money in it, but her driver’s license and other identification were stolen,” said Murley. The pink clutch-type wallet had not been recovered as of Wednesday, when he was speaking.
On Tuesday, an employee at Acme Brick Park noticed a red Nissan Pathfinder parked about 200 yards west of 28th Street on the south end of the park’s walking trail, near one of the lakes. Murley said when the employee saw it, the tag, wheels and tires had been removed and the steering column broken, and it was sitting on the ground.
It did appear to have been driven to that location before being stripped, said the detective.
The Pathfinder was last registered in Oregon but was not listed as stolen. “We’ve got it in safekeeping but haven’t been able to contact the owner,” said Murley. “It wasn’t a new one; in fact, it was about 30 years old, a 1988 model.”
Kelvin Grimes, 56, of Clinton, was the man who allegedly contacted his daughter when he had been ordered not to do so by Associate District Judge Jill Weedon. However, that may not have been why he was arrested; the Police Department’s media report indicated the arrest was for failure to register a new vehicle, no insurance, and eluding police officers.
Murley said around 10 a.m. Wednesday police received a call from Grimes’ 13-year-old daughter telling them she had a protective order against her father and he was at a residence in the 700 block of N. Fifth Street where she apparently lived.
Officers were dispatched, and as Lt. Luis De La Torre was arriving, he saw a white Dodge pickup backing out. Murley said De La Torre was familiar with Grimes and recognized him as the driver and his estranged wife, Sherry Grimes, as a passenger.
Police tried to make a traffic stop on the pickup, but the detective said Kelvin Grimes tried to elude them by turning off Fifth, going up an alley and accelerating. De La Torre allegedly pursued with his red lights and siren on and eventually stopped the pickup at N. 17th Street and Custer Avenue.
“He did stop on his own,” said Murley, adding that Grimes was then arrested for attempting to elude.
“It was later determined there was no protective order in place but there had been a no-contact order placed by Judge Weedon as a condition of his bond on another charge,” said Murley. “The condition was that he have no contact with the juvenile. He was charged with attempting to elude a police officer, and information on his presence there will be forwarded to the district attorney as well.”