Buckley and other local police detectives are looking for whoever stole a Ford F-350 pickup truck, containing a dog named Luke, on Monday from the parking lot of the Northwest Fitness Zone on Highway 410.
The truck was recovered early Wednesday morning in the area of 268th Ave SE, Buckley Police Chief Kurt Alfano said, and the dog was found inside safe and unharmed. Police haven’t yet found or identified a suspect in the theft.
“We’re hopeful we can develop a suspect and ultimately forward charges to the prosecutor,” Alfano said. “The biggest thing for us is (that) we’re super thankful the dog was unharmed and it’s healthy and back home with the owner.”
In a bizarre coincidence, an identical-looking stolen truck, involved in an unrelated package theft investigation, was also recovered Wednesday in Bonney Lake, Alfano said. The suspects in that truck — which had the license plate removed — were seen stealing packages on video, Alfano said.
That video was shared to social media, and the vehicles looked so similar that police initially believed the trucks were one and the same, Alfano said. The two maroon Ford pickups were involved in similar crimes, in the same area, and were recovered around the same time.
“When they started sending us photos of the package thefts going on, we assumed that was the stolen vehicle, because it didn’t have any license plates on it,” Alfano said. “(But) it’s clear that it wasn’t our victims in our motor vehicle theft. So there were two thefts out there, simultaneously, of similar vehicles.”
Alfano said police are working on identifying suspects in the Buckley case using photos taken from where the victim’s credit cards were used. No suspect has been identified yet, Alfano said early Wednesday afternoon. The vehicle in the case will be fingerprinted, he said.
“I think what happened is, they used the credit cards at various stores, got what they could out of that, then ditched the truck shortly thereafter,” Alfano said.
Those with information can contact the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force on their tip line at (253) 329-2442, via email at email@example.com, or through their Facebook page.
Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County through the P3 Tips app or 1-800-222-8477.