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Shawnee police arrest a 16-year-old seen driving a stolen car

Shawnee police arrested a 16-year-old early Friday morning after he tried to hide a stolen car in the garage of a Merriam home.

Shawnee Police spokesman Major Jim Baker said officers saw a car that had been reported stolen in the Thousand Oaks Apartments area on 70th Terrace, just west of Switzer Road in Shawnee.

Police have been alerted after a spate of vehicle thefts and break-ins in the area in the past 24 hours.

At approximately 11:00 pm Thursday, a Shawnee officer followed the stolen vehicle south on Switzer Road and into the Edelweiss neighborhood along 72nd Terrace, just east of Switzer in Merriam.

The driver stopped the car at a garage on the 10200 block of Edelweiss Circle and closed the garage door.

Baker says the 16-year-old driver was eventually arrested and booked into the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center in Olathe.

An accident the night before

About 20 hours earlier, Shawnee and Merriam officers were at the Thousand Oaks Apartments, when the suspects in two stolen vehicles fled from them.

According to recorded radio traffic, at about 1:40 a.m. Thursday, both stolen cars hurtled south over Switzerland to 75th Street and then headed off in different directions.

A Merriam police officer briefly chased one of the cars up to Interstate 35, but broke off the chase as the car accelerated northbound on the highway.

Shawnee officers saw the second stolen car driving erratically west on 75th Street and then north on Nieman Road. No one chased that vehicle.

Baker says both stolen vehicles were later located unoccupied and recovered.

The vehicle that the 16-year-old suspect was seen parked later Thursday night was not one of these vehicles.

Warning to secure vehicles

Shawnee officers were also called to the Onyx at 67 Apartments, near 65th Street and Reeder Street, early Thursday morning.

Baker says some reported people were walking in the parking lot and looking into cars, but that someone spooked them before officers could get there.

Police are still investigating whether or not all of these events involve the same suspects.

“Keep vehicles locked, don’t leave valuables in vehicles parked outside, especially firearms, don’t leave vehicles running unattended to warm up, and if you see anything or anyone that looks suspicious, call 911 health care so officers can investigate,” Major Baker with Shawnee Police said.

“These incidents have occurred in or near apartment complexes, but another good crime prevention tip for homeowners is to make sure garage doors are locked at night and avoid leaving keys or key fobs inside vehicles parked or not in the garage,” he added.

Merriam Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding Thursday night’s arrest in their town.

Mike Frizzell is a freelance fire and crime reporter who runs Operation 100 News.

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