Investigation of new-vehicle thefts continues, including fresh incident

Toledo police say an ongoing investigation into the brazen thefts of new vehicles from shipping yards likely won’t be closed any time soon, while a woman severely injured during one such incident nearly two months ago remains on life support.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this case and I don’t anticipate it being wrapped any time in the near future,” said Lt. Kellie Lenhardt, the Toledo Police Department’s spokesman for the department.

Two thefts in early June, first from a shipping yard for Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex and then from the nearby Ann Arbor Railroad property days later, involved multiple suspects at once cutting through security fencing to steal new pickup trucks.

Becky Huston, 60, an employee in the FCA shipping lot, was struck by a suspect fleeing in a stolen pickup truck. Daughter Kristen Baughan said her mother has endured 19 surgeries, some of them with multiple procedures at once, and remains on life support in “very critical condition.”

“She’s been on a roller coaster,” Ms. Baughan said.

Ms. Huston suffered a severe brain injury along with numerous severe fractures and other injuries, in addition to secondary complications. She was transferred about two weeks ago from Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center to the University of Michigan hospital.

Ms. Baughan said her mother’s eyes are open and she looks around, but she isn’t able to answer questions. About a month ago, she had been able to nod her head and answer yes-or-no questions for a time.

“The brain injury, that’s our biggest hurdle,” Ms. Baughan said. “As long as everything stays kinds of under control, they don’t want to do any more surgeries.”

Lieutenant Lenhardt could not say if an incident last weekend at another shipping yard in the same area is being considered related to previous thefts. Officers were called at 12:35 a.m. Sunday to a shipping lot in the 4000 block of Stickney Avenue, managed by Leadec Industrial Services, according to a report.

An employee there said he was notified the previous afternoon that a trucker could not find a Dodge Ram he was scheduled to pick up. Then Saturday night, the employee was alerted that a Dodge Charger also was missing.

The report states Michigan state troopers who were in the area conducting an investigation located the pickup just outside the fenced area. It had apparently been driven through the fence, and Toledo police then found parts just outside the fence that appeared to be from a spoiler on the Charger.

A Michigan State Police spokesman referred questions back to Toledo police. Lt. Lenhardt could not provide any additional information on the department’s investigation into the thefts.

An online fund-raiser at GoFundMe.com for Becky Huston has raised $4,700 of its $10,000 goal as of Friday.

Anyone who might have information should call the Crime Stopper program at 419-255-1111.

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