Bend pair arrested in tractor theft after chase, K-9 bite

Wife claimed carjacking; police say untrue

BEND, Ore. - A Bend couple, accompanied by their two children, stole a tractor from a southeast Bend property early Friday, then led two citizens on a pursuit that led to a crash, manhunt and capture with the help of a K-9's bite, police said.

The wife said she and her children had been carjacked, but police said they determined that was untrue and she was charged as well.

It all began around 12:35 a.m., when police responded to a report of a possible theft in progress of a backhoe near the corner of American Lane and Brosterhous Road, said Sgt. Tom Pine.

The caller said he'd interrupted the possible theft and the suspect fled, towing a trailer with a medium-sized tractor worth about $15,000 aboard (the original report of a backhoe was incorrect, Pine said).

The caller to 911 followed the suspect vehicle to an undeveloped lot at the southeast corner of Brosterhous and Murphy roads, where he and another citizen following them said they left the road in an apparent attempt to elude them, Pine said.

Soon, the caller advised dispatchers the suspects had crashed their car and were stuck in the unbuilt subdivision, and a man had run from the car.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies and an Oregon State Police trooper helped Bend police set up a perimeter, Pine said, with plans to deploy Bend police K-9 Haras to find and capture the man.

Meanwhile, officers contacted the woman at the crashed vehicle. Pine said she told them the man had carjacked her car and had been driving her and her two kids, a 6-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, around the city for about a half-hour.

However, the sergeant said, further investigation found that to be a lie, and she was instead a co-conspirator in the tractor theft.

Haras and his handler were able to track the fleeing man, later identified as Jeremy Kelso, 34, Pine said. The dog led officers to a freshly damaged fence to a home about 150 yards from the crash scene.

Once in the backyard, the K-9 alerted to a concealed, dark exterior corner of the home, where they found Kelso hiding behind a decorative garden wall, Pine said. But Kelso failed to surrender to officers, and Haras helped take the man into custody shortly before 1 a.m.

Kelso was treated at the scene and at St. Charles-Bend for treatment, before being taken to the county jail, where he was booked on charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and conspiracy to commit that crime, as well as three counts of reckless endangering and second-degree criminal mischief.

Kelso was booked into the jail around 4 a.m. and released on his own recognizance an hour later, pending a July 9th court date, a jail officer said.

His wife, Alida Kelso, also was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and conspiracy, but apparently was arrested by citation, as she was not booked into the jail, the officer said.

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