At 7:10 a.m. on Monday, March 28, the Milbank Police Department was dispatched to Lakeview Drive in Milbank for a report of a stolen vehicle. The 2005 Ford F150 pickup displayed local plates and was owned by Jessy Johnson. Milbank Chief of Police, Boyd Van Vooren, said, “Officers were quick to get the information out to other agencies. At 8:30 a.m. the pickup was spotted in Watertown and the Watertown PD stopped the vehicle. A juvenile male from Minnesota was taken into custody.”
According to Chief VanVooren, at 5:30 a.m. that same morning, an officer from the Milbank Police Department observed a vehicle with Minnesota plates abandoned in the driving lane on Lakeview Drive in Milbank. That vehicle was towed and later reported stolen in Minnesota. Chief VanVooren commended Milbank officers, Devin Weinkauf and Corey Hooth, for their responses to the situation and recognized the Watertown Police Department for their assistance. No damage was reported to the stolen work pickup owned by Johnson. Johnson’s wife, McKenzie, said, “We got everything back we had in the truck, and my husband thinks it had more gas in the tank than when it was stolen.”
She said “We think it was probably stolen around 5 a.m. One of our neighbors heard car doors opening and closing, and another neighbor heard a knock on their garage door, but they didn’t answer it.” McKenzie says the incident doesn’t necessarily make her feel unsafe, “but I definitely think we have a sense of security living in a small town. So, we’ll be taking extra precautions moving forward.” Mckenzie continued, “The MPD did an awesome job responding yesterday morning, and also keeping both Jessy and me updated.”
Chief VanVooren also reminds citizens of the importance of locking and securing vehicles. He urges caution. “Northeast South Dakota has seen a rise in criminal activity in the last year. Vehicle theft, as well as theft from vehicles, continues to be a problem.”
Data from AAA Insurance indicates an increase of 30 percent in vehicle thefts in South Dakota from 2019 to 2020. The trend continued into 2021. Approximately 2,100 cars and trucks were stolen in South Dakota in 2020, and that same data suggests the majority of the thefts were facilitated by opportunity. Which vehicles are most likely to be stolen in South Dakota? If you guessed a pickup, you win the jackpot.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports four makes of pickups are in the top five on the list: 1. Full-size Chevy pickup 2. Full-size Ford pickup 3. Chevy Impala 4. Tie between full-size GMC pickup and full-size Dodge pickup 5. Tie between Honda Accord and Jeep Cherokee or Grand Cherokee 6. Toyota Camry 7. Pontiac Grand Prix 8. Ford Fusion 9. Honda Civic