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Three teenage boys who were already on probation have been arrested in connection with a burglary and the theft of two vehicles, according to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

The boys are accused of taking a Honda minivan from a home near Strand Avenue and Reserve Street early Tuesday morning, according to sheriff’s Detective Jason Johnson. After the van crashed on Blue Mountain Road, the trio allegedly went into a house near Blue Mountain Road and River Pines Road and took several things, including credit cards and the keys to a 1998 Jeep Wrangler that was parked in the garage, he said.

At one point, one of the youths allegedly went into a bedroom and saw a woman sleeping there. At about 5:22 a.m., they allegedly left in her Jeep, which woke the woman, who immediately called 9-1-1, Johnson said.

Seven minutes later, sheriff’s deputies spotted the Jeep near Maclay Bridge and chased it after the driver refused to stop. Missoula police officers joined the chase, which included the use of a spike strip near Tower Street and Spurgin Road, Johnson said.

Despite two flat tires, the Jeep continued to the area of South Fifth and Reserve streets, where it hit and damaged a county patrol car, Johnson said. The chase lasted about eight minutes, he said, and no one was injured.

All three youths may face burglary charges. Two may face charges of theft of a motor vehicle, while the driver also may face charges of criminal endangerment, reckless eluding and no seatbelt, he said.

The sheriff’s office reminded people to lock their homes and vehicles. Keys were left in the ignition of the first vehicle taken, Johnson said.

Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268,, or @CopsAndCourts.

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City Editor

Gwen Florio is city editor of the Missoulian.