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Alleged car thieves remove air conditioner to enter dealership

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012 7:56 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A man and woman are facing a collection of felony theft and burglary charges after police say they removed a car dealership's air conditioning unit in order to get inside, locate keys and drive off with eight vehicles.

Joseph Lee Chatwin, 40, of Salt Lake City, and Shauntae Leah Stratton, 24, of West Valley City, and each face eight counts of second-degree felony theft and one count of third-degree felony burglary, according to charges filed Tuesday in 3rd District Court.

The alleged theft occurred June 19 at a car dealership at 3590 S. State, South Salt Lake, charges state. Stratton and Chatwin are accused of removing the air conditioner to get into the building and taking keys, temporary tags, dealer plates and bottled water.

They then drove eight vehicles off the lot and deposited them at various locations, charges state. At least one the stolen vehicles was used for a trip to Summit County and back, while others were loaned to three acquaintances.

Seven of the eight vehicles were recovered in the first weeks of the investigation, charges state.

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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