Police search for Honda theft suspects

Posted at 12:58 PM, Sep 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-25 15:13:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Police are searching for suspects after several Honda car burglaries in two Utah cities.

Officers said there have been at least two cases involving stolen Honda cars in September, one in Cottonwood Heights and one in Salt Lake City.

Police said one of the thefts occurred Sunday when a man drove to a Cottonwood Heights Target store in a stolen Honda, went inside for a few minutes, and came back outside to steal a different Honda to leave the area in.

On Monday, police received a call about suspicious activity in the parking lot at West High School, and when police arrived they spotted a man in a stolen Honda.

Officers said they arrested that suspect, 21-year-old James Lopez, who has a criminal history. Police said Lopez had an altered or shaved vehicle key in his possession when he was arrested.

Police found another stolen Honda nearby, and officers found eight identical shaved keys inside that vehicle.

Sgt. Mark Askerlund of the Cottonwood Heights Police Department said they believe the suspects were using those shaved keys in the thefts, which allow them entry and access to just about any older model Honda product.

"Doesn't spend any time manipulating the door lock or the ignition, suspicions are that he had an altered key that fits most any Honda, early model Honda ignition," he said.

Police said they are glad to have Lopez in custody, but they said there is still the suspect in Cottonwood Heights, and potentially others, out there who are using the shaved keys for the robberies. The remaining suspect is pictured in video above.