Middletown Police looking for driver of stolen SUV

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Police are looking for the driver of a SUV they pulled over just hours before the vehicle was reported stolen.

Ashley Tatar reported Monday morning her white Dodge Durango RT was stolen from the Atrium Medical Center parking lot.

Tatar, who works at the Middletown hospital, told police just before 10 a.m. that the vehicle had been stolen sometime between 7 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. Monday.

The keys, she said, were left in the vehicle, which also had expired tags.

“Do not leave your keys in your vehicle,” Lt. David Birk of the Middletown Police Department said. “Secure your vehicle and do not leave valuable possessions in plain sight.”

Those mistakes enabled the alleged car thieves to not only steal Tatar’s SUV, but to also deceive police when they were pulled over in the stolen vehicle.

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A Middletown police officer stopped the vehicle about six hours before it was reported stolen because of its expired tags.

The driver told the officer “that Ashley allowed him to borrow the car all the time,” according to the police report.

“They went through the car and were able to get her information from the registration,” Birk said.

Using that specific information, they were able to concoct a believable story.

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Because the vehicle had not yet been reported stolen, the officer had know way of knowing it was part of a crime, Birk said.

Atrium Medical Center security contacted Middletown after the police department asked on Facebook for help locating the stolen SUV.

Surveillance video from Atrium Medical Center shows three people riding bicycles in the parking lot after midnight, according to police. The bicycle riders checked several car doors before walking off camera to the area where Tatar’s car was parked. The vehicle can then be seen driving out of the parking lot, according to police.

The Dodge Durango was found this morning on Ethel Court, according to Birk.

An investigation is continuing and police are looking the driver pulled over early Monday morning. If you have information about the alleged thieves, call Middletown Police at 513-425-7700.

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