Journey of 1,000 miles ends in arrest

Published on Wed, Aug 5, 2009 by Jack Kintner

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A thousand-mile joyride across three states ended just north of Custer on Monday morning, August 3, for five Montana teenagers when they were stopped and arrested by Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies working on a tip from the Billings, Montana police.

Deputy chief Tim O'Connell of the Billings, Montana police department said a Billings woman reported on Sunday her granddaughter had stolen her 2003 motor home, worth an estimated $50,000. The woman believed the girl might be heading to Washington or Phoenix, O'Connell said, so Billings officers notified law enforcement, including the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, about 10 a.m.

The next day deputies stopped the vehicle in the 2400 block of Birch Bay-Lynden Road and found five juveniles inside, two 16-year-old boys, a 15 year-old boy and two girls aged 14 and 15, according to Sergeant Kevin McFadden of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

All five teens were booked into juvenile detention on charges of first-degree possession of stolen property, McFadden said. The motor home was not damaged. O’Connell said that the youths will be returned to Billings where they will be cited in juvenile court.

The Billings police department at first refused to give details on the case as it involved juveniles. A spokesperson said, however, when the vehicle was stolen “We didn’t have as many juveniles involved as is being reported, so maybe they picked someone up along the way.”