OCEANSIDE — A car theft near the harbor threatened to ruin the day for young soccer players.
On May 16, Oceanside Police responded to the Harbor Beach at approximately 7:20 a.m. to take a report of a stolen vehicle. What made this report unique was that the stolen rental van contained sound equipment and awards for a large soccer tournament that was being held at the Harbor Beach over the weekend. Without the awards, hundreds of youths would have left the tournament empty-handed.
Officers and investigators put the information out to allied agencies in the hopes the vehicle and property would be returned in time for the conclusion of the tournament.
“And as luck, or should we say fine police work by all involved, would have it, the vehicle was spotted along the roadway disabled in the Santa Barbara area by California Highway Patrol Officers at 10:23 a.m.,” a police spokesman said.
The driver/suspect of the stolen vehicle, identified as 41-year-old Gary Silverman of Oceanside, was arrested at the scene. Silverman reportedly worked with the soccer tournament in an undisclosed capacity and took the vehicle without the permission of the organizers.
Oceanside detectives moved fast to have the property released to the organizers so they were able to retrieve the trophies and medals and have them ready for the awards ceremonies.
Silverman was arrested and will be charged with vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.