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Restaurant employee foils alleged teen car thief

Posted: August 11, 2014 - 2:05pm
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Daniel Vanhorn, 18, was arrested on Friday and arraigned on Monday for multiple counts breaking and entering and two counts felony theft for allegedly stealing two cars and trying to steal six more. FCSO booking photo.
Daniel Vanhorn, 18, was arrested on Friday and arraigned on Monday for multiple counts breaking and entering and two counts felony theft for allegedly stealing two cars and trying to steal six more. FCSO booking photo.

A Conway restaurant employee who told the LCD that he’d rather remain anonymous foiled an alleged car theft late Friday night, leading to two arrests and the recovery of two other vehicles stolen last week.

According to a CPD incident report released on Monday, a woman had to leave her car at a parking lot near the La Huerta restaurant on Friday after a would-be car thief tried to steal it, but succeeded only in mangling the steering column and breaking the ignition barrel so that it couldn’t be started with the key. A previous vehicle break-in had already left the window too damaged to roll up.

The officer took the report and “advised her that I would let other officers know about it so we could come by during the night to keep an eye on [the woman's car].”

About 20 minutes before midnight on Friday, the same officer drove by to check on the vehicle and saw the restaurant employee “bear hugging a smaller white male,” his report states. The officer stopped and asked what was going on.

Employees told the officer that the employee had caught the man, identified in the report as 18-year-old Daniel Vanhorn, apparently trying to steal the car. The employee chased Vanhorn, tackled him, and with the help of another employee dragged him back toward the restaurant, according to the report. Employees also said that another possible suspect had fled southeast on foot. 

Vanhorn told the officer that he was “up here getting the car for my mom.” There was a screwdriver and some pliers in the driver’s seat. He was detained in the back of the car as other officers arrived and started looking for the other possible suspect.

When the call came that the other suspect was fleeing back northwest toward the restaurant, the same officer left Vanhorn with a CPD supervisor and spotted the second suspect between two buildings off Clayton Street. He drew his taser and ordered this suspect, identified in the report as 18-year-old Jacob Alexander Reza, to the ground and arrested him.

A CPD detective interviewed the teens, and got information leading to the recovery of a 1996 Jeep Cherokee and a 1998 Ford F-150 that had been stolen from a Conway used car dealership last week. Five other cars at the dealership were left with smashed windows and mangled ignitions.

Both were taken to county jail. Vanhorn was arraigned on Monday for six counts breaking and entering, two counts felony theft of property and one count misdemeanor theft of property.

Reza, who was out on bond pending charges of vehicle breaking/entering and theft of property in a July 16 incident in which he and another suspect allegedly stole the keys and $3 from a woman's vehicle, was also arraigned for fleeing on Monday. His bond was revoked.

CPD is investigating whether the teens may have been involved in other similarly unsuccessful attempts to steal cars in Conway. 

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