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2 car chases in Licking County leads to arrest of 15-year-old boy

The Heath Police Department said two Dodge Challengers and a Jeep Grand Cherokee were stolen early Monday morning.

HEATH, Ohio — Three vehicles were stolen from a Chrysler dealership in Licking County early Monday morning, according to the Heath Police Department. The department was led on two car chases.

Police said an officer noticed some vehicles running at the John Hinderer dealership at 1317 Hebron Road. 

As the officer investigated the lot, a Dodge Challenger reportedly drove over the curb and drove off.

The officer pursued the vehicle and sent other officers to investigate the other running cars.

Law enforcement pursued the Challenger to the State Route 39 and State Route 37 intersection. A cruiser and the Challenger crashed into a field at the intersection, police said. The Challenger sustained heavy and disabling damage while the patrol vehicle sustained minor damage.

The suspect, a 15-year-old boy from Columbus, took off on foot, but was found in a barn and arrested.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Licking County Sheriff's Office and other police departments helped in the pursuit.

According to police, an officer who was investigating the car lot found another Dodge Challenger leaving the lot and driving down SR-79 and then went west on Interstate 70. That chase caused police to drive at speeds at more than 120 miles per hour. 

The officer lost sight of the car and stopped the pursuit.

“The vehicle got so far ahead of our cruiser that they lost sight of it and [the officer] wasn't comfortable pursuing at that speed, so he discontinued the pursuit,” said Heath Police Chief David Heren.

In all, two Challengers and a Jeep Grand Cherokee were stolen and two buildings were broken into, according to police.

Police said this is not the first time this has happened; according to the department. Between 2021 and so far this year, there have been three incidents of Columbus juveniles involved in attempted car thefts.

“Most of them had a juvenile with them or a juvenile was involved in some way, so unfortunately it's more often than you would think,” Heren said.

The incident is under investigation.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Heath Police Department at 740-522-2141.

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