Operation to recover stolen cars in Salt Lake County yields 4 arrests

Posted at 9:19 AM, Aug 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-01 23:32:29-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Four people, including a known gang member, were taken into custody overnight during a police task force operation focused on recovering stolen cars.

A task force made of officers from Unified Police, West Valley City Police, Cottonwood Heights Police and the Metro Gang Task Force team up every few months to conduct these operations. This current operation was about a week long.

Officers made arrests in two separate incidents.

The first incident occurred in Millcreek at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday. Officers attempted to pull over a known fugitive when the driver sped away, leading police on a chase.

According to Unified police, officers tracked the suspected vehicle into a neighborhood near 2300 East and 3300 South with the help the Department of Public Safety helicopter.

Both the driver and passenger then abandoned the car, which police believe was stolen, and fled on foot.

Officers managed to capture who they believe was the passenger. The suspect had warrants for his arrest.

The second incident occurred in West Jordan at about 1:15 a.m. Officers located Louie Mai Lay, a known gang member, driving near 9000 South and 1300 West.

After a short vehicle pursuit, police spiked Lay’s tires but he kept driving. Police say Lay eventually got out of the car and fled on foot.

Police set up a search and located Lay and was taken into custody on outstanding warrants.

Two other suspects inside the car were also taken into custody with outstanding warrants. The driver, Mario Sotello, was one of those arrested. He is currently on federal probation.

Police say the task force was originally created to find stolen cars, but it has proved to be an effective way to catch all kinds of criminals.

“We look for stolen vehicles, fugitives, people involved in vehicle burglaries, thefts, any other type of ongoing crime in progress that we can respond to, to assist other agencies while we’re out doing this we will do so,” said Sgt. Brett Miller with Unified police.