Stolen van passes employees looking for it before being recovered by Tribal Police

PMG PHOTO: PAT KRUIS - Warm Springs Police used a spike strip to stop the stolen newspaper delivery van belonging to the Madras Pioneer and the Central Oregonian. Kalama allegedly took the van at about 6 a.m. Wednesday Jan. 5. Police stopped it by about 7:30 a.m. and took the theif into custody.

Murray Kalama, a Warm Springs resident, was charged Thursday with two Class C felonies following the theft of a van in downtown Madras Jan. 5.

Kalama, 59, is charged with getting into the Madras Pioneer delivery van while the driver was making a delivery at Ahern's Quick Stop at approximately 6 a.m. Not seeing another vehicle, or any person, in the parking lot, the driver left the key in the van while making the quick delivery. When he left the store, the van was gone.

Kalama allegedly had the vehicle for a bit more than an hour when he was seen by two Pioneer employees in a personal vehicle on U.S. Highway 26 north of Madras. The employees were looking for the van when it passed them northbound on the highway near Cherry Lane. They estimated the van was traveling at speeds at high as 90 across the Agency Plains.

The Pioneer employees immediately contacted 9-1-1, and the Warm Springs Police Department was notified of that the van may be in route. WSPD got behind the speeding van shortly after it passed the Pelton Dam turnoff and then pursued it toward Warm Springs.

When the van didn't stop, a spike strip was placed at the west side of the bridge. The strip blew out three tires. Within about a half mile, the van stopped. Several WSPD vehicles blocked the highway and Kalama was apprehended at gunpoint but without incident.

The Pioneer employees had followed the van and were at the scene as Kalama was being arrested. They quickly transferred the papers to the personal vehicle and finished the deliveries.

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