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Crime Trackers: Cross border thefts - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: Cross border thefts

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Every year, thousands of stolen cars cross the border from the U.S. into Mexico. Every now and then, one gets caught trying to leave Arizona.

The thieves are tricky.

A 2008 Ford F-350 truck and a  U-Haul trailer filled with stolen items tried to cross the border at Sasabe, Ariz. into Mexico on Aug. 25.

Pima County Sheriff’s Department Auto Theft Det. Eric Heath said the thieves “switched the license plate and tried to trick the customs agents that everything was legitimate about this truck and get it across the border.”

Agents stopped Kenneth Medley and Kathleen Stein when they tried to cross the border. Detectives said both the truck and the U-Haul trailer they were driving were filled with stolen items.

“Quite a bit of drug paraphernalia, as well as a stolen laptop from a U.S. Border Patrol building in Maine,” said Heath.

The truck was stolen from Bellingham, Wash.

Detectives are still trying to figure out when and where the U-Haul was stolen.

The couple is from Blaine, Wash. Detectives know they traveled more than 1,500 miles before getting busted.

They were also carrying about a half dozen bicycles on a bike rack, including a racing bike valued at $2,000.

Inside the trailer, Heath said there was about $30,000 worth of stolen items. 

The Ford truck is among  the top ten most stolen vehicles . Officials said it's the vehicle of choice among drug cartels. They use them for drug smuggling and human trafficking . 

“A lot of times, by the time it gets across the border, a couple things happen," said Heath. "It either gets sold or it starts to get stripped across the border.”

The truck was stolen off the lot from Northwest Honda in Washington state.

News 4 Tucson  spoke to  assistant manager Paul Binder over the phone. He said the 2008 F-350 was valued at $30,000. 

“I’m glad they caught the guy who stole it," he said. "I don't know if I’m happy that they found it and that I’m getting it back.  I mean, we're talking about a high dollar vehicle coming back all the way from Arizona.” 

He said he had no idea in what condition it would be in.

50-year old Kenneth Medley and 29-year old Kathleen Stein are facing two counts of auto theft, drug charges and theft.

Both remain in the Pima County Jail.

This investigation involved multiple agencies across the West Coast, including PCSD. Anyone with information about the case is urged to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

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