Home News Local News Police arrest suspect in theft of $61,000 Camaro from showroom
Police arrest suspect in theft of $61,000 Camaro from showroom
By Chris Collins
Police in Baker City and La Grande teamed up with an OnStar operator to stop a suspected car thief Wednesday morning.
Oregon State Police arrested James Dewayne Reedy, 46, who according to police was living in a motel in Baker City, at about 8:50 a.m. on the side of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 near Ladd Canyon.
Reedy is suspected of breaking into the Baker Garage auto dealership at 1780 Washington Ave. The new, $61,000 Chevrolet Camaro was driven out a roll-up garage door of the business, Baker City Police Sgt. Kirk McCormick said.
The Camaro is the ZL1 model. It has a 580-horsepower engine, the most powerful ever in a stock Camaro, and the car has a top speed of 180 mph.
Baker Garage owner Randy Daugherty called police to report the burglary at 7:43 a.m. Wednesday, McCormick said.
The Camaro is equipped with GM’s OnStar navigational and security system. Daugherty called OnStar to solicit help in tracking the Camaro.
An OnStar representative next talked with Baker City Police Officer Jared Wood, who confirmed that police were investigating the theft of the vehicle.
OnStar tracked the Camaro to North Powder and then led police to the location where the arrest was made.
Stewart (who declined to give his last name and the town in which he worked), an OnStar representative in the Piedmont Region of North Carolina, said the company uses cellular signals and a satellite navigation system to track a vehicle’s location and can even be used to control vehicle speed.
“We can slow the vehicle down if police are behind it and can confirm that conditions are safe,” Stewart said.
But that feature is only available on vehicles made in 2009 and later, he said.
First the vehicle lights flash and then it is slowed down in cooperation with police, he added. OnStar can slow the vehicle to an idle if necessary. And if the motor is off when the company is notified, the ignition can be disengaged so that the vehicle will not restart.
If the vehicle is stopped, but still running, the motor cannot be disabled, Stewart said.
The North Carolina office handles all thefts of vehicles equipped with OnStar in the United States, he added.
“I had a Camaro just like that the other day and we were able to recover it,” he said.
That car was taken in Florida.
“We enjoy helping our customers out,” he said.
Stewart said OnStar is called on to help police during high-speed chases and in cases where someone is reported mission or considered to be in danger.
On Wednesday, OnStar operators alerted police that the stolen Camaro was heading west on Interstate 84 near North Powder.
OSP Trooper Grant Jackson, along with two deputies from the Union County Sheriff’s Office, gathered near Milepost 274 about 8:20 a.m. The officers saw the Camaro exit the freeway at Milepost 273 and return to the freeway, heading east toward North Powder and Baker City.
Because OnStar operators had reduced the engine’s power, the Camaro wasn’t able to exceed 30 mph. Reedy, who was the only occupant in the Camaro, pulled over near Milepost 274, where he was arrested.
Reedy had a “medical problem” and was taken by ambulance to Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, according to an OSP press release. He was examined at the hospital and released to police, who took him to the Union County Jail.
Reedy is being held on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving under the influence of intoxicants, felony attempt to elude in a vehicle, and driving while his license is suspended.
Baker City Police are investigating the burglary and theft at Baker Garage, McCormick said.
Daugherty declined to comment on the theft.
“It’s an unbelievable car,” he said, adding that it had been at the dealership for about a month.
“It has an owner,” he said. “It’s been sold.”
The new owner didn’t want any publicity about the purchase, Daugherty said.