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Teen stole part from wrecked Porsche in Paul Walker crash: police

U.S. actor Paul Walker presents a creation from Colcci's 2013/2014 summer collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week March 21, 2013. REUTERS/F
U.S. actor Paul Walker presents a creation from Colcci's 2013/2014 summer collection during Sao Paulo Fashion Week March 21, 2013. REUTERS/F

(Reuters) - An 18-year-old accused of stealing a rooftop panel from the wrecked Porsche in the crash that killed "Fast and Furious" actor Paul Walker was in custody on Friday, Los Angeles sheriff's officials said.

Jameson Witty was arrested at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday, and a second suspect was arranging to turn himself in, authorities said.

On the day of the November 30 crash, someone using the Instagram service handle "jamesonwitty" posted photos of a portion of the roof of a red Porsche and wrote, "Piece of Paul walkers (sic) car, took it off a tow truck at a stop light."

It was not immediately clear whether the photos were genuine, but sheriff's deputies arrested Witty after searching his home.

Walker was a passenger in a fiery one-car crash in Santa Clarita, California, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, that also killed 38-year-old driver Roger Rodas over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The 40-year-old actor, best known for his roles in the "Fast and Furious" action films, died from multiple injuries, the Los Angeles County coroner said on Wednesday.

The coroner said Walker's death resulted from "traumatic and thermal injuries." While the coroner did not elaborate, thermal injuries are heat-related and are commonly burns.

The crash prompted Universal Pictures this week to suspend production of the seventh installment in its lucrative car racing film franchise.

After the crash, rescue crews loaded the wrecked car onto a flat-bed tow truck. Several vehicles followed the truck as it left the scene for a tow-yard, where detectives planned to examine it for evidence of what happened in the accident, the sheriff's department said.

When the truck stopped at a traffic light, a man got out of a car, ran up to the tow vehicle and grabbed a panel from the wrecked Porsche Carrera GT, a witness told investigators.

Deputies later found the red, T-top roof panel at a home in the Los Angeles suburb of Canyon Country.

The second man believed to be involved in the theft is a 25-year-old who was outside the state on Thursday but was making plans to turn himself in, deputies said.

Witty was booked on suspicion of felony grand theft and evidence tampering, with bail set at $20,000, deputies said.

Investigators are continuing to seek a cause for the one-car crash.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Andrew Hay)

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