UPDATE, June 29 — University of Oregon police — with an assist from Eugene officers — arrested a Medford man Thursday in connection with the theft of a UOPD patrol car the day before.
Ryan Paul McGill, 30, was booked into the Lane County Jail on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and first-degree criminal mischief, both Class C felonies, and unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor.
Video from the patrol car, which was parked outside a campus building, shows a person smashing the window of a UOPD Ford Interceptor around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday while the officer was inside the building. The car was found abandoned two miles away in southwest Springfield.
After seeing video of the suspect provided by UOPD, Eugene police found and detained McGill Thursday morning at the downtown Eugene Greyhound bus station on Pearl Street and transferred him to UOPD custody.
“Someone who is willing to steal a police car is not someone you want out on our streets,” UOPD Chief Matt Carmichael said. “This was great police work and attention to detail by our partners with Eugene police, and we’re extremely grateful.”
ORIGINAL POST, June 28 — UO police are asking the public’s help identifying a thief who stole a UOPD patrol car early Wednesday. The car was recovered about an hour later a little more than two miles away.
According to police, around 3:30 a.m. an unidentified man smashed the driver’s window of a marked Ford Interceptor, which was left running outside a UO building at 1244 Walnut St. while the officer was inside the building.
“It’s standard practice for law enforcement vehicles to use power from a running car battery to keep in-car computer and recording systems booted up and ready for use,” UO Police Chief Matt Carmichael said. “However, a special keyless system allows for this, and keys are not to be left in unattended cars, and in this case they were.”
Police used in-car technology and help from Springfield Police to locate the car on South Third Street in Springfield, just east of the Willamette River and south of downtown, just before 4:30 a.m. Other than the window, the car wasn’t damaged. No firearms were in the car, no access was made to the in-car computer or information systems and nothing was taken.
Security camera footage showed a male with shaggy dark hair, around 6 feet or taller with a slight build walk by the car before he broke the driver’s window, got into the car and drove away, leaving it in a quiet residential neighborhood in southwest Springfield.
Police are investigating. Anyone with information about the theft or the suspect should call UOPD at 541-346-2919 or the anonymous tip line at 541-346-2974.