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BFPD investigating vehicle theft

| March 30, 2024 1:00 AM

Officers were dispatched to assist staff from a Montana therapeutic boarding school after a resident from the facility for teenagers suffering mental health and substance abuse disorders fled during a stop at a Boundary County hospital, Bonners Ferry Police said Wednesday.

Officers said a resident from Turning Winds School in Troy, Mont., was being transported to a medical facility in Coeur d’Alene when the transport driver made a brief stop at the Boundary Community Hospital. While at the hospital, the male juvenile allegedly battered the transport driver and possibly a healthcare provider, fleeing on foot into the area. The juvenile allegedly has a history of burglary and auto theft. Per policy, The Daily Bee does not identify juveniles.

Officers from the Bonners Ferry Police Department, Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Border Patrol responded in an attempt to locate the teen. The search remained active in that neighborhood until approximately 12:20 a.m. Monday when a crash was reported in the southbound lane of U.S. north of the Bonners Ferry city limits. However, the driver fled in the vehicle before first responders arrived on the scene.

During the crash investigation, it was discovered the vehicle had lost its front bumper with an attached license plate when it hit the guardrail in two separate locations at high speed. The gray 2005 Acura sedan was registered to an address in the neighborhood where attempts to locate the teen had been underway for several hours.

Shortly after the crash, a witness who saw the vehicle moments before at Sturgeon Station identified the teen via photograph as the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle. The vehicle was later confirmed stolen from the owner’s driveway.

At approximately 12:30 a.m., a possible prowler was reported in the W. Monroe Street area in Bonners Ferry, where an individual whose description matches that of the teen, was allegedly chased from a garage by a homeowner. 

After searching the neighborhood, officers located the heavily damaged Acura abandoned in the area as well as several parked cars with their doors open and possibly ransacked.

The South Hill neighborhoods were searched until approximately 4:30 a.m. when a resident reported her Chevrolet Trailblazer had been stolen along with her financial transaction cards. The resident advised that the cards had already been used in Samuels in Bonner County as well as Libby, Mont., police officials said.

The suspect and vehicle had been entered into the National Crime Information Center so law enforcement nationwide who may come into contact with either would know they were dealing with a wanted person and vehicle.

BFPD officials said the department was contacted by a police officer in Poulson, Mont., at about 9 a.m. Monday, reporting the youth had been apprehended and the Trailblazer recovered. An arrest warrant for the teen has been issued out of Boundary County for two counts of grand theft, with numerous felony and misdemeanor charges to follow. The investigation is ongoing.

Extradition efforts are underway.

Anyone with information regarding the incident, or who thinks they may be a victim, is urged to contact the Bonners Ferry Police Department at 208-267-2412 and speak with the lead investigating Officer, Brandon Johnson.