Suspects arrested in connection with car thefts in Billings, BPD - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Suspects arrested in connection with car thefts in Billings, BPD investigating vehicles stolen in area

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UPDATE: The Billings Police Department reports 26 Honda vehicles stolen in Billings between April 4th and May 28th. 

BPD Lieutenant Neil Lawrence also released information Thursday morning that officers and detectives from the Billings Police Department have been working leads and conducting interviews related to these car thefts over the past 72 hours. 

According to Lawrence, one officer attempted to stop a vehicle on the morning of May 31st that was found to be a stolen vehicle. Lawrence said that vehicle then fled from the downtown area but was later located along with another stolen Honda Accord. BPD said two suspects were ultimately arrested, Michael J. Marino and Michael D. Brien, both 19 and Billings residents. 

Lawrence reported that these incidents and the additional investigative work has led to the recovery of 7 stolen Honda vehicles, the arrests of 2 suspects, and the identification of other suspects. 

At this time, the Billings Police Department is still continuing with the investigation. 

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As of Friday morning, 250 vehicles have been reported stolen in the Magic City this year.

Lt. Neil Lawrence says 185 of those vehicles have been recovered, but that doesn't stop car thieves from attempting to steal.

“We still have people who do start the vehicle in the morning and it's still a little cooler to let the vehicle warm up and, unfortunately, that's a big reason why a lot of the vehicles are stolen.”

Wayne Ham had his vehicle stolen three weeks ago. He says he left his door unlocked.

"It's not the first time I left my vehicle here alone. Usually, I pull into the yard, but I thought 'oh, it'll be okay for one night' and I didn't lock it. Mainly, I just, you know, it'll be fine, you know. I grew up in this town, I like this town. I'd like to think this town could be, you know, good again."

Lt. Neil Lawrence tells KULR-8 that there's a device out there that can mimic your key fob allowing anyone with one of these devices access to your vehicle.

Kody Mills learned of the technology after his truck was stolen May 20th.

Mills had both sets of keys with him at the time.

"They said it's a really, really common thing, unfortunately. And basically, they, you know, the way technology is, they don't really need a key anymore, which blows my mind."

Lt. Lawrence reminds everyone to take preventative measures as much as possible.

"Lock it somehow. You know, I know a lot of the newer vehicles- once somebody does get into it, it starts up, it automatically shuts off, but if you don't have that feature, figure out a way to secure the vehicle if you really feel that you need to be away from it while it's running."

Lt. Lawrence adds that the rate of thefts so far this year is consistent with previous years.

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