SPOKANE, Wash. -It's not every day that a city-wide spike in stolen property can be pinned on one individual.
But when several older model Subarus went missing this summer, Spokane's Anti-Vehicle Theft Task Force had one 'usual suspect' in mind.
"The intelligence analyst and the anti-crime team took a harder look at that, to look at some of the people we had previously arrested for stealing those types of vehicles," said Spokane Police Captain Brad Arleth.
This led police to 19-year-old Christian Normand. Possibly the most successful Subaru thief in all of Spokane.
Normand has been boosting older Subaru models since he was 16 years old, "I guess like the feeling of like possibly getting caught or the feeling of like, I don't know, the rush of doing something that I shouldn't be doing," said Normand.
Police say Normand was picked up with two accomplices two weeks ago - when they allegedly boosted a Subaru. Spokane Police placed a GPS tracking unit on the stolen car with the owner's permission, using it as a bait car in hopes of catching them.
He'd only been out of jail since July - but in that time he says he stole 30 Subarus. That's on top of the 100-plus Subarus he'd admitted to swiping since beginning his life of crime at age 16.
"I would drive them until I felt like it was dangerous for me to drive around if I didn't want to get caught," said Normand.
Normand says he likes older model Subarus because of their worn down keyholes which allowed him to bypass both the door locks and the ignition using an unusual technique: "I heard about the rake thing one day, and I didn't believe it. I ended up trying it, and at first, I couldn't figure it out...but I figured it out," added Normand.
By 'rake thing', Normand means breaking off part of a metal rake tine and using it as a jimmy. He got to be very good with it. Normand even showed arresting officers in 2017 how quickly he could get in and start an older Subaru. It only took him 30 seconds.
We asked Captain Arleth how one can protect themselves from becoming a victim.
"If you have a vehicle of that age, change your ignition out, change your door lock out," Arleth said.
If your vehicle qualifies, you can also get a free anti-theft club from the Spokane Police Department. More information, including a list of qualifying vehicles, can be found here: https://my.spokanecity.org/police/prevention/