Twice, but not-so-nice; West Valley City SUV stolen twice in one night

Posted at 10:21 AM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 00:12:28-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The relief of finding a stolen SUV was short-lived after it was swiped again within hours overnight, all as a man looked on.

READ: One dead in Salt Lake City crash

Cesar Milder left his BMW X5 with his mechanic, Alexandre Souza, while he was on vacation. On his way home, Milder realized his flight would arrive hours after Souza's shop closed, so he asked Souza to leave the keys out for him.

Souza decided to hide the keys in a separate car to make sure they weren't stolen, yet when Milder showed up, his car was gone.

"This is not happening, this is impossible," said Souza.

Security cameras caught video of a man checking car doors in Souza's parking lot, then finding the BMW keys and taking off in the car.

The reality made Souza sick.

Realizing he wouldn't be able to sleep, Souza called police and began driving around the Salt Lake Valley in search of Milder's car. After about an hour, Souza recognized the familiar glare of his customer's BMW headlights and license plate.

"I found the car, I'm right behind the car! I told you I was going to find him!" said Souza in a voice message to Milder.

Souza called 911 and kept authorities on the line as he followed the driver around for about 85 miles.

"He hit I-215 and was going really fast," said Souza. "I was trying my best to keep my eyes on him."

Souza watched the driver park in a residential neighborhood and get out of the car and drive away with another person in a Dodge Challenger.

Minutes later, another driver entered the BMW and took off with the car.

Souza followed for about 10 minutes before police found him and began pursuing the BMW driver.

READ: Child among 2 killed in head-on collision in Provo

After police ended the pursuit of the Dodge, the man who had spotted the original SUV, who had stayed behind to watch the vehicle, called in to say another person had entered the BMW and stolen it again.

Luckily, Utah Highway Patrol troopers were able to locate the SUV and take the second criminal into custody.

"If it wasn't for Souza, there's no way we would find the car so fast and so intact," said Milder. "His help was definitely a keystone in the whole process."

A spokesperson for West Valley City police told Fox 13 they are grateful for Souza's help, yet caution, if something like this happens to you: please call police and let them handle the situation. Police want to make sure no one gets hurt.

The driver and passenger in the Dodge remain at large.