Traffic stop turns up suspects linked to Coconino burglary spree
SEDONA -- At mid-afternoon March 27, a Yavapai Sheriff's deputy spotted a green Ford Expedition fail to fully stop while using the I-17 southbound off-ramp at SR 179. The vehicle turned north onto highway 179 toward Sedona and sped off. The deputy followed observing the vehicle, weave, speed up and slow down randomly. Dispatch could find no warrants or alerts on the vehicle but the officer eventually signaled a traffic stop at MP 302.
Three occupants were all wearing hooded sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up. As the deputy reached the vehicle, it suddenly drove away at high speed. The deputy began a vehicle pursuit that lasted about a half mile. At that point, the vehicle left the roadway, and traveled cross-country until it got stuck on the side of a hill. The driver and two occupants bailed out and ran north from the vehicle. Deputies checked the area but could not locate the suspects.
Flagstaff Police officers contacted the vehicle's registered owner who wasn't aware her vehicle had been stolen. The deputy searched the vehicle and located a cell phone belonging to a Coconino County high school student who the deputy identified by name. The information was relayed to the Flagstaff police and a couple days later, the teen was located by officers, arrested, and has since been charged with vehicle theft.
Flagstaff Police are currently investigating the auto theft suspect and associated individuals for involvement in multiple burglaries in their jurisdiction as a result of the Yavapai investigation.