Reduced traffic leads to discovery of stolen vehicle, police claim

CHICO — Police believe the reduced traffic in downtown Chico helped them locate a stolen vehicle and its driver.

Due to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order and lack of bar activity, police say vehicle traffic in the downtown area is nearly non-existent in the early morning hours.

At approximately 11:54 p.m. Saturday, an officer observed a green Honda Civic traveling eastbound on W. 9th Street and paid particular attention as it was the only one on the road, according to a Chico Police Department news release.

During a routine check of its registration status, the officer discovered it was stolen and attempted to conduct a high-risk vehicle stop.

However, the vehicle pulled into a gas station in the area of E. 11th Street and Park Avenue, came to a stop and the driver fled and, jumped over a fence into a backyard.

Police began searching for the suspect until he was found hiding on the property.

The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Colton Smith of Orland, was taken into custody. Per the release, Smith was arrested on charges of resisting arrest, vehicle theft, possessing a controlled substance and trespassing.