At around 3:00 p.m. Saturday, someone called Missoula Police and reported a vehicle was stolen from the 900 block of Pullman Street. Later that day, the owner of the vehicle and the complainant called police again. They said they found the vehicle near the intersection of Rodgers and Dickens Street and that an adult male was inside. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“He gave the information as the male got out of the car and started to walk away from it,” Welsh said. “The information included a description of the male, which included his clothing and his appearance. When the officers got to the area, they located the male near the intersection of Scott and Palmer Street. He was identified as 24-year-old Gabriel Despaigne and he was taken into custody.”

Mr. Despaigne was transported to the Missoula County Jail and is currently being held for one count of felony theft. Vehicle thefts tend to happen more often this time of year because a lot of folks like to warm up their car in the morning. According to Welsh, it is important that people are taking the proper precautions.

“When you warm your car, secure your car before you walk away and leave it running,” Welsh said. “That is going to go a long way towards making sure your car is there when you come out to it. If you have two sets of keys and you’re able to lock one set in the car so that it is secure, that is ideal.”

If you don’t have two sets of keys, Welsh says you should always keep an eye on your vehicle while it is warming up.