Thieves hit SeaTac rental car lot; commit more crimes using stolen cars

    Thieves hit SeaTac rental car lot; commit more crimes using stolen cars (PHOTO: KOMO News)<p>{/p}

    Authorities say the brazen thieves that pulled off a rental car lot heist in SeaTac on Thanksgiving are using the cars to commit more crimes. A security guard in an SUV blocking the exit wasn’t able to stop seven teens from escaping. After ramming her vehicle, they sped off in the stolen rental cars .

    “This is another car recovered. Again, you can see the flat tire,” Sgt. Ryan Abbott said.

    King County Sheriff’s Department says it recovered three of the six stolen cars. The cars were recovered nearby in Tukwila and Des Moines. Similar heists have happened as many as eight times at the same Hertz car rental lot since August, according to deputies. Each time it involved a group of juveniles. Authorities say the thieves use the stolen cars to commit more crimes.

    “They use these cars to commit burglaries in houses and other things,” said Abbott.

    “We’re looking at a string of at least three incidents here in Bellevue involving this group,” said Seth Tyler with Bellevue Police.

    A day after the heist, Bellevue Police said the group of thieves and the stolen cars were tied to a theft at Bellevue Square, a robbery at a bus stop and a hit and run.

    We were able to stop two of those suspects on foot.

    “Several juveniles entered the store and stole an iPhone from the counter and left without paying. Security observed the teens getting into two cars which we later learned were stolen. One was a Chevy Malibu. The other was a Nissan Rogue,” said Tyler. “We were able to arrest two of the suspects here. They were booked for the robbery.”

    A similar heist happened Sept. 21, at the SeaTac airport rental car facility. Authorities say juveniles stole 7 cars. The thieves still haven’t been caught. The sheriff’s department believe it's possible that the incidents are connected.

    “They all have the same type of M.O. They’re going with a large group of people. They’re figuring out what they need to do and where they need to go. The more people they have, the less chance they'll be able to catch them all,” Sgt. Abbot said.

    No one has been arrested in direct connection with the Hertz rental car lot heist. Investigators are reviewing surveillance video. They are also interviewing witnesses from the Bellevue incidents.

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