The stolen van was not hard to find, even if the man driving it was.
Tropicale Foods at 1149 W. Nielsen Ave. had just opened for business about 7:45 a.m. Thursday when a man hopped into the company’s 2016 Chevrolet van with ice cream logos and GPS and took off, said. Lt. Joe Gomez. The keys were in the ignition when the theft happened.
The store manager used the vehicle’s GPS to help police find the easily identifiable van traveling at Marks and Dakota avenues. Officers stopped the van in the 3200 block of North Marks Avenue, but as they approached on foot, the thief sped away to a nearby big rig repair shop off Weber Avenue.
The man abandoned the van and walked away blending in with employees. He pretended to work at the repair shop and told an officer, while pointing, that the suspect ran that way, Gomez said.
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When two other officers arrived, they realized Jarid Riley Taylor, 36, was the suspect. Taylor ran west through the lot but was caught. He was charged with burglary, auto theft, evading a peace officer and being an unlicensed driver.
Taylor was also charged with possession of stolen property. A search found a SIM card on Taylor that was removed from the van, Gomez said. Taylor was also arrested on an outstanding felony warrant for auto theft from Oklahoma.