State’s Auto Theft Prevention Program Supported Large-Scale Investigation
5/18/2015 10:14:43 AM
For Immediate Release:
SAINT PAUL, MN – In the early months of 2014, dozens of stalled cars suddenly started disappearing off roads and highways across the Twin Cities area. It remained a mystery until Coon Rapids Police Detective Chad Duckson apprehended the thief and uncovered what had been happening to the stolen cars.
In recognition of his investigation, Duckson was honored this month as Auto Theft Investigator of the Year by the North Central Regional Chapter of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators. The chapter represents auto theft investigators in 13 states and two Canadian provinces.
Earlier this year, Duckson was also honored as Investigator of the Year by the Tri-County Investigators Association, representing criminal investigators from 144 agencies around the state.
Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman is offering his congratulations to Duckson, praising the detective for his leadership in solving auto theft cases.
Detective Chad Duckson succeeded in cracking a large-scale, metro-wide car theft scheme,” said Rothman. “As a seasoned auto theft investigator working in collaboration with other agencies, he used a combination of creativity and hard work to identify the suspect and connect him to nearly 150 car thefts. The case highlights the successful partnership between local law enforcement and the Commerce Department in combating auto thefts.”
The Department of Commerce manages the state’s $3.6 million Auto Theft Prevention Program, which provides grants to local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. The program’s grant to the Anoka County Joint Law Enforcement Council helped support the Anoka County Auto Theft Task Force and Duckson’s investigation.
Last spring, in response to increased reports of stalled cars being stolen while parked on metro-area roads, Duckson decided to set up a bait car along Minnesota 610 and East River Road in Coon Rapids. Within days, it was stolen. Using special tracking equipment in the car, Duckson traced it to a metal recycling business.
His investigation led to the arrest of James Chester Jennings, who had been using a flatbed tow truck to steal the cars and then sell them as scrap metal, using altered vehicle identification numbers.
It was an honor to receive national recognition for this investigation and to be able to bring some closure and justice to the numerous victims who had their automobiles stolen,” said Duckson. “An investigation such as this is largely made possible by the state’s ongoing commitment to combat auto theft in Minnesota with these specialized grants.”
Rothman said the total number of vehicle thefts in Minnesota has declined significantly in recent years, dropping from more than 14,000 in 2005 to less than 8,000 in 2013. However, that still amounts to nearly 22 cars stolen every day in the state.
Effective law enforcement continues to be essential in the fight against auto theft,” said Rothman. “It’s also important for car owners to be alert and take necessary precautions to avoid becoming a car thief’s next victim.”
Rothman advises Minnesotans to always lock their car doors, keep valuables out of sight, never hide keys in the car and don’t leave a stalled vehicle on the roadside for a long period.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is here to help if you have questions or believe you have been the victim of a scam or fraud. Report the fraud, so that others do not fall victim. If you think you have been a victim, contact the Department’s Consumer Services Center at 651-539-1600 or (800) 657-3602.