Caught in a flash: Police search for people in stolen car

Caught in a flash: Police search for people in stolen car »Play Video

SALEM, Ore. - Red light cameras watch over the intersection of 25th and Mission Street in Salem.  They were installed to catch people breaking the law.

On Jan. 8, they caught illegal activity happening behind the wheel of a green Honda. The camera snapped a photo of two people riding in a car that had been stolen just one day earlier. The camera captured a clear image of the driver.

Andrea Arreguin of Salem is glad police are releasing the picture.

“I think that's really good,” Arreguin says. “Because - I mean, look at how like clear that the picture looks.”

Arraguin’s car was stolen this past summer in downtown Salem. She never saw it again. She hopes this red light camera photo helps police track down whomever stole this car.

“I think that would be good anywhere - parking garages – anywhere,” says Arreguin. "I would love that.”

When the company that runs the red light cameras tried to send the driver a ticket, they realized the car was reported stolen.

Catching this kind of crime in progress on red light cameras in Salem has been rare.

“This is the second time since we implemented putting in a red light in 2008 that I'm aware of that we've actually captured somebody in a stolen vehicle,” said Lieutenant Steve Birr of the Salem Police Department.

That picture can also be used as evidence in court. Up until the 2013 legislature, police in Oregon couldn't use red light photo pictures for anything but traffic citations. Lawmakers changed that.

Shortly after the camera flashed this photo, the driver dumped the car.

“We certainly would like to chat with them,” said Birr. “And if they see this, they're invited to come down and talk to us.”

Andrea Arreguin wonders if the driver dumped the car knowing they'd been caught on camera in a stolen vehicle.

“I bet the owner's happy,” Arreguin says. “I would be so excited!”