WESTPORT — Third time’s the charge for a Waterbury man who stole three cars from Westporters’ homes.

During the early morning hours of Dec. 30, 2016, an unlocked Lexus with keys inside was stolen from the driveway of a Compo Road South address. Nearly two months later on Feb. 26, 2017, the vehicle was recovered in Waterbury. A handgun and cellphone, both of which did not belong to the car’s owner, were also recovered from the vehicle, police said.

Forensic evidence later linked Waterbury resident Earnest Owens, 28, to an empty iced tea can found in the vehicle, police said. Text messages contained in the cellphone referred to the owner as “JR,” and, according to Owen’s driver’s license, his legal name was Earnest E. Owens Jr., police said, adding they submitted a warrant application for his arrest.

On Oct. 17, 2017, a victim reported two cars were stolen overnight from his driveway. One of the stolen cars, a 2009 Audi Q5, was unlocked with the keys inside. The vehicle was recovered in Waterbury on Nov. 1, 2017, and towed to Westport police headquarters to be processed by detectives for evidence. Crowbars, gloves and a number of other items that did not belong to the car owner were found inside, and forensic evidence later linked Owens to the stolen vehicle.

On Oct. 18, 2018, Owens was detained at state Superior Court in Waterbury on the outstanding arrest warrant and and brought to Westport police headquarters, where he was charged with first- and third-degree larceny. Owens was unable to post $50,000 bond and was transported to state Superior Court in Norwalk for arraignment the following day.

svaughan@hearstmediact.com; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1