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Joplin police arrest a man they say is behind stealing two vehic - KOAM TV 7

Joplin police arrest a man they say is behind stealing two vehicles yesterday and today

Updated:
Joplin police say they've arrested a man behind stealing two vehicles yesterday and today.  Police say they also caught him trying to steal a third vehicle.

Police say the first incident happened yesterday afternoon at a convenience store at 20th and Schifferdecker.  Police say a Joplin Parks and Recreation pickup truck, with doors unlocked and keys inside the vehicle, was stolen.  A store worker, who didn't want to be interviewed on camera, says just before the truck was stolen, there was a man inside the store who was loitering.  

Late this morning, another pickup truck was stolen from a parking garage at Freeman Hospital West.  Police say the vehicle belongs to a Freeman Hospital worker.

"The vehicle at Freeman was also unlocked and it is believed that the keys were left in the vehicle, as well," says Lieutenant Matt Stewart with the Joplin Police Department.

Later in the day, Joplin police spotted the stolen pickup from Freeman in the area of a Joplin McDonald's near Interstate 44.  Investigators say the suspect drove off, then struck a Ford Taurus.

"The suspect then fled from that accident and then attempted to take another vehicle by force by opening the door and telling two people inside the vehicle to get out of the vehicle," says Stewart.

Police say officers stopped the unarmed suspect from hijacking the vehicle.

According to investigators, the suspect also admitted to stealing the Joplin Parks and Recreation truck yesterday, and led police to where the undamaged vehicle was found near 7th and Harlem.

The two-day two-vehicle thefts prompt police to issue a reminder for the public and fellow city employees.

"It only takes a few seconds, especially if the vehicle is unlocked and the keys are in there, for somebody to get in," says Stewart.

We are not releasing the suspect's name because charges have not been officially filed yet with the Jasper and Newton County Prosecutors.  The suspect has previous multiple charges of tampering with a motor vehicle.

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