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Ore. car thief has unlucky day

By The Associated Press

ROSEBURG, Ore. — A man had bad luck in his choice of stolen vehicles. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said Ernesto Ponce took a pickup from a Chevrolet lot in Roseburg on Friday, but had to switch vehicles when a tire blew.

Ponce, 19, then allegedly took a Subaru Legacy from a driveway on Lookingglass Road. He had that car for about 15 minutes before the engine overheated, causing it to catch fire at an intersection in Winston.

Jeff Herbert, of Cottage Grove, spotted the blaze and pulled over to help. As Herbert rushed over with a fire extinguisher, the suspect stole his Dodge pickup.

''He jumped in when I had my back to him,'' Herbert said of Friday's theft.

But the suspect didn't get very far. Spike strips placed by investigating officers punctured two tires, and the pickup slid into a ditch.

Ponce was lodged at the Douglas County Jail on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle, first-degree criminal mischief and reckless driving.

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