BILLINGS — A Billings man took justice into his own hands last Monday after he tracked down his stolen truck at a house on the 800 block of Broadwater Avenue. He said the suspect has been linked to several other car thefts in the area.
“Somebody stole my truck and then they wrecked it into another stolen truck,” said Timothy Payne on Sunday.
When Payne’s truck was stolen on Monday, he never thought he would get it back. “But I knew from experience that I had to do something about it immediately,” Payne said.
It was around 9 p.m. when he went to pick his daughter up around Second Street West and Lewis Avenue.
“It’s cold out so I left my truck running. I went in to get her and I heard the truck speeding off. Ran outside and seen him fishtailing down the street,” said Payne.
Payne said a female driver accompanied the alleged thief in a Dodge Dakota. He wasn’t going to let them get away with his truck without putting up a fight, so with his phone left in his vehicle, he tracked it down using the Life360 app.
“I decided to come back to this location he stopped at and that’s where I found my truck in the alley being stripped in the process,” Payne said.
That’s when Payne said he took matters into his own hands.
“I commandeered my vehicle with a little vigilante justice. And I had to hang on to the side of my truck while he was bouncing off cars in the alley,” said Payne.
Payne said he was finally able to break his window out and dove through it toward the male suspect.
“Yea, I ended up hitting him in the face with a shovel. I threw a sledgehammer at him. The guy put up a pretty good fight. I ended up getting him out of the vehicle where then he ran and the police showed up,” Payne said.
The alleged accomplice in the Dodge Dakota fled as well and Payne filed a police report. But Payne and his family weren’t finished fighting for justice.
He said they were able to track down the male suspect’s identity by researching social media.
“We were able to recover the Ring cams (video) off of some neighbors because he was porch pirating in the neighborhood off First and Burlington,” said Payne’s partner Robbi Schneider.
The family shared their story through Facebook and found out they weren’t the only ones with a connection to this area.
“And since this has happened, four people have found their vehicles stolen right here on this street,” Payne said.
Payne said he found many of his belongings at the back door of the house where his car was recovered. Even though all his tools and credit cards weren’t recovered with his truck, he hopes his story will aid others who had their vehicles stolen by the same suspect.
“My goal is to help these people get their stuff back,” Payne said.
The Billings Police Department tells MTN News that the case is still open while they attempt to identify the male suspect. If you have any information on this case, contact the Billings Police Department.
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