A scheme in which three people are suspected of swapping keys during test drives in an attempt to steal vehicles has led to the arrest of two and a search for a third, Benton police said.
William Price, 26, and Courtney Lane, 25, both of Pine Bluff, were arrested Thursday night after police found them in a suspicious vehicle near an Everett Buick GMC pre-owned vehicles dealership, at 2003 Military Road in Benton, the Benton Police Department said in a statement.
Authorities said the men were attempting to steal vehicles from the lot through a method known as “key swapping.” The men would test drive a vehicle, then upon returning to the dealership would give employees a different set of keys similar to the ones belonging to the vehicle they tested, Benton police spokesman Lt. Kevin Russell said.
The men would then attempt to return later and use the keys they kept to steal the vehicle off the lot, according to Russell. Police think the suspects have used this method before at the same auto lot.
About 11:30 p.m. Thursday, officers tried to pulled over a "transport vehicle" that was purportedly used to drop off one of the men at the dealership, as well as a vehicle the dealership had reported as stolen. Price and Lane were found in the transport vehicle and taken into custody, police said.
The driver of the stolen vehicle initially refused to stop but then exited the vehicle and fled on foot toward The Greens at Hurricane Creek apartment complex, along Hurricane Drive in Bryant, Benton police said. Authorities have not yet found the driver.
Both Price and Lane were charged with theft of property and use of another person’s property to facilitate a crime, police said. Price was additionally charged with driving on a suspended license.