ROSEVILLE (CBS13) – Thanks to a news report and a quick-thinking local resident, Citrus Heights police were able to capture a parolee wanted in connection with recent rental car thefts.

At around 11 p.m. Saturday, a resident spotted a man in a local park near Roseville Road and Outlook Drive in Citrus Heights who matched the description of a car thief he had seen in the news. Roseville police notified Citrus Heights police officers who went to the park and took the suspect, Gary Lee Fowler, 43, into custody without incident.

Fowler is suspected of stealing several cars from a Roseville rental car agency over the weekend of January 26-27, 2013.

At 8:06 p.m. on January 26, a customer went to drop off keys at a car rental agency on North Sunrise Avenue and found that the key drop box had been broken into. He stood by to safeguard the remaining keys and called police. Employees checked the lot and confirmed that six of their vehicles were missing.

Officers searched the area and found that a suspect had moved five of the rental vehicles to other parking lots in the area. They couldn’t locate one of the stolen vehicles. They contacted a 31-year-old Citrus Heights woman near one of the stolen cars and arrested her on suspicion of vehicle theft, possession of methamphetamine and other related charges.

From video surveillance and other information gathered during the investigation, detectives identified Fowler as the other suspect.

At 7:45 p.m. on January 29, officers spotted the one remaining stolen vehicle being driven by a man in the area of Loretto Way and Quail Circle. They followed the vehicle and the driver led them on a short pursuit, then dumped the vehicle on King Road, on the east side of Saugstad Park, and fled on foot.

Numerous officers from Roseville, Rocklin, Citrus Heights, CHP and Placer County converged on the area and searched the park, creek bed corridor and surrounding neighborhoods, with support from CHP’s and Placer County sheriff’s helicopters. Despite the lengthy search, they were unable to locate the driver, whom officers believe was Fowler.

He is being held without bail in the Placer County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft and related charges, and violation of parole.


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