Santa Cruz County

Watsonville police arrest suspected serial Honda thief

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - Watsonville police arrested a 35-year-old man they believe has been stealing Hondas throughout the area.

Saturday evening, officers responded to a call from a witness who located a recently stolen Honda Accord on the 1700 block of Freedom Boulevard. The suspect drove off in the vehicle before officers arrived, but police soon found the stolen car parked in a nearby shopping center parking lot.

As officers approached, they saw Jose Oriz exit the stolen Honda and get into another Honda Accord parked next to it. He then started the second car using a shaved key, which is commonly used to steal vehicles.

Officers took Ortiz into custody, and learned that the first Honda Accord had been stolen earlier that day. Ortiz was found to be in possession of numerous shaved keys that they believe he'd been using to steal Honda vehicles throughout the county.

Ortiz was linked to at least three recent vehicle thefts, Watsonville police said. Ortiz, who is a documented gang member, was also found to be on probation for a vehicle theft committed in November of 2013.

Ortiz was taken to Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary, attempted vehicle theft, vehicle theft and probation violation.

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