SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Police officers recovered a heavily damaged stolen vehicle on Monday in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) says the suspect is a 30-year-old man. His identity has not been released at this time.

Police discovered the stolen station wagon near 1900 West North Temple. The vehicle was actively listed as stolen at the time.

When officers approached the suspect sitting inside the vehicle, he refused to cooperate while attempting to shift the vehicle into drive.

Officers quickly turned off the engine but says the suspect turned it back on and attempted to shift to drive. Officers moved the gear shifter into neutral, causing the car to roll and crash into a nearby police car.

Authorities were eventually able to take the man into custody. Police say the vehicle’s interior was “heavily damaged and dirty.”

While searching the vehicle, police discovered “open containers of alcohol and drug paraphernalia” along with “a vehicle license plate that had been partially cut up and overlaid and glued on top of another license plate to give the appearance of being a completely different plate.”

Officers say car theft remains a major threat to Utah drivers.

SLCPD offers these tips to prevent becoming the next victim of car theft:

  • Never leave your car running and unattended
  • Close and lock all doors and windows when leaving your car
  • Use a steering wheel lock
  • Leave your car “showroom” clean. Valuables and items indicating valuables such as cell phones and GPS chargers should never be left in a car
  • Park in areas that are well-lit and have working video security cameras
  • Invest in a vehicle immobilization system and vehicle recovery system
  • Take clear photos of your vehicle, VIN and license plate
  • Immediately report any theft by calling 9-1-1 if you witness your vehicle being stolen
  • Call (801) 799-3000 if the theft happened outside your presence or if there was a time delay

“The Salt Lake City Police Department has a unit dedicated strictly to investigating auto theft,” authorities say. “This unit is highly skilled and experienced. The detectives assigned to the SLCPD Auto Theft Unit not only follow up on cases by handling all auto theft investigations, but they deploy into the field to track down known vehicle theft offenders who have warrants or to look for, and recover, stolen vehicles.”