Madison County teen car theft suspect in custody

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CITY OF ONEIDA — A Madison County teenager suspected of stealing multiple vehicles in Oneida over the past several weeks was taken into custody following a police pursuit, according to law enforcement officials.

Police said Steven D. Thurston, 19, of 104 N. Main St., was one of two people spotted in a stolen vehicle in Oneida on Monday. Police said the vehicle had been reported stolen, and a person familiar with the vehicle’s true owner spotted it driving around and called 9-1-1.

Madison County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, and police said the driver hit the gas and attempted to flee. Police said the stolen vehicle crashed and the two occupants then tried to flee on foot. They were caught shortly thereafter.

Oneida Police Chief Paul Thompson said Thurston is suspected in multiple motor vehicle thefts over the past few weeks.

Thurston has been charged with four counts of third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, police stated. He is scheduled to appear in City Court.

Thompson said Thurston would “go through unlocked cars at night” and steal property from the vehicles. Thompson said if the keys were left in the vehicle, Thurston would take the vehicle and drive it around for a day or two. Thompson said he believes all of the stolen vehicles have since been recovered.

Thompson said this is a reminder for residents to lock their motor vehicles at night and to remove anything of value from the vehicle, including the car keys themselves. Thompson warned not to leave your keys in the ignition of an unlocked car.

“These are things that we stress all the time,” Thompson stated. “Almost always, cars that are locked are not forcefully broken into.”

The chief said that when it comes to either stolen vehicles or having items stolen from vehicles, the thieves just move on if the car is locked.

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