Local police catch suspect in theft of cars

Local police catch suspect in theft of cars

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Local police are crediting local distribution of a mugshot with helping them to land a suspect in a string of car thefts outside town convenience stores.

The Breeze reported two weeks ago that car thefts in town were on the rise, with 37 reported from Jan. 1 to Oct. 22 after four straight years of either 27 or 28 incidents during that same time period. According to police, most of the incidents involve people leaving their keys in their car or even their car running as they run in for a quick errand or start their car in their driveway as they get ready for work.

Police in that story asked for help from the public with attempting to identify a suspect accused of stealing a vehicle from the Cumberland Farms store at 1046 Mineral Spring Ave. The owner of the vehicle left it running while making a quick purchase.

“The suspect’s photo appeared in The Valley Breeze and was placed on the department’s Facebook page,” said Deputy Chief Arthur Martins. “Within a short period of time after the photo was distributed, the North Providence Police Department received information that identified the suspect as Christian Mendez, age 19, of 159 Urban Ave. in North Providence.”

Det. Christopher Cote was able to determine that Mendez was responsible for two auto thefts. In each of the crimes, the vehicle owner left the car running and entered a convenience store to make a purchase. The thefts occurred on Sept. 9 outside Seasons, 1132 Mineral Spring Ave., and on Oct. 13 at Cumberland Farms, 1046 Mineral Spring Ave.

Mendez is being held at the ACI on unrelated criminal charges. He was set to be formally arraigned on the two auto theft charges from the North Providence Police Department on Monday.

“We want to thank The Valley Breeze readers and our Facebook friends for their assistance and providing valuable information that allowed us to positively identify this suspect,” said police in a statement. “The North Providence Police Department also wants to warn people to not leave their vehicles running unattended for any reason. With the public’s cooperation, crimes of opportunity such as this can be prevented.”