updated 2/23/2007 1:12:16 PM ET 2007-02-23T18:12:16

Authorities said a man stole a pickup, a sedan and a Volkswagen Beetle — along with perhaps 300 other cars. Not to mention boats and recreational vehicles.

Taylor Jacob Norton, 22, sold many of the vehicles to support a methamphetamine habit, and used others just to give rides to friends, sheriff's Detective Jess Sanders said. Drug paraphernalia was found in his home, investigators reported.

"He's a one-man crime ring," Sanders said.

An electronic beacon from a stolen car led to Norton's arrest on Jan. 23 in his mobile home outside Arlington, 40 miles north of Seattle, authorities said.

In the yard, authorities said, were four stolen vehicles — a 1994 Chevrolet pickup, a 1998 BMW 528, a 2003 BMW 325 and a 2003 Volkswagen Beetle, which had the locator device.

Norton then led investigators to dozens of homes where he said he stole vehicles, recalling the make, model and license plate number of each one, as well as how he made off with it, Sanders said.

At each house, a theft matching his account was confirmed by law enforcement officials.

"He enjoyed telling us," the detective said. "It's something he's really proud of."

Norton was being held for investigation of 48 crimes with bail totaling $201,000. Deputies believe he also stole dozens of cars in western Washington.

"There are a lot of people stealing a lot of cars," Sanders said, "but that's a lot of cars for one person to steal."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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