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Persistent deputies arrest repeat car thief in Spanaway

On Mar. 1, at 7:00 a.m., a deputy was dispatched to a suspicious vehicle call in the area of 170th St E and 6th Ave E in Spanaway. The 911 caller reported that a white male was slumped over in the driver’s seat of a blue Hyundai Elantra.

When the deputy arrived, he spotted the vehicle and recognized it from a vehicle theft report he took on Feb. 27. The driver woke up, saw the deputy, and immediately sped away in a reckless manner. Since vehicle theft is not a pursuable offense, the deputy couldn’t give chase.

One hour later, dispatch notified the deputy that the car was now parked at a grocery store in the 15800 block of Pacific Ave S. The driver was once again slumped over.
When deputies arrived, the vehicle was unoccupied. Experience told the deputies that the suspect likely went through the store and out the back exit in order to lose deputies, so they drove to the back of the store. Sure enough, the male was back there and took off on foot as soon as he saw the deputies. They chased him down and took him into custody. He had a pair of pliers in his pocket that are commonly used to start Kia and Hyundai vehicles that don’t have engine immobilizers, like the one he was driving earlier.

The 30-year-old suspect was booked into jail and prosecutors charged him with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. Bail was set at $10,000.

He also had a bench warrant for a vehicle theft that occurred in Tacoma in December. Bail was set at $10,000 in that case as well.

Deputies later served a search warrant on the stolen vehicle and located: a pistol case, a pistol magazine, assorted ammunition, bolt cutters, a crowbar, stolen mail, and other property likely stolen during a burglary. Property crimes investigators will follow up to see if the items were listed in any recent burglary reports.