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Truck Left Idling Outside Illinois Jail Stolen


Associated Press


BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) -- It's not an old saying, but it probably should be: Leave a truck idling outside a jail and somebody is going to hop in and drive it into a tree. That's just what happened to Jon Courtney on Jan. 10.

Courtney, 27, had driven his 2001 GMC Sonoma to the St. Clair County Jail to turn himself in on a warrant for criminal damage to property. Thinking he'd simply be given a court date and be allowed to leave, Courtney left the truck idling in the parking lot.

But Courtney was booked into jail. Courtney told sheriff's deputies about his truck, who cited him for leaving an unattended vehicle and then went outside to turn it off.

Unfortunately for Courtney, the time he walked into the jail apparently coincided with James Thomas was walking out, sheriff's Lt. Steve Johnson said.

"He must have passed Courtney, who was coming in, and spotted the running truck," said Johnson. The 17-year-old Thomas, Johnson explained, had stopped by the jail to see if there were any outstanding warrants against him. There weren't.

The next time the deputies saw the truck was later that evening in East St. Louis. They chased Thomas, who ran the truck into a tree, Johnson said.

Thomas, who started the night with no outstanding warrants, was arrested on burglary and possession of a stolen vehicle charges. He was booked into the jail, where he remained Tuesday on $50,000 bail.

Meanwhile, Courtney was able to post bond the same night he walked in. But he had to call someone for a ride home.
 
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