BELLEVUE – A 19-year-old Kirkland man meeting his probation officer in Bellevue Monday chose a bad way to get there – a stolen car.
Tipped off by the King County Sheriff’s Office that the man was a suspect in a car theft in unincorporated King County, Bellevue Police arrested him when he turned up for his appointment at 3:45 p.m. A search of the suspect turned up the keys for the stolen vehicle, and police found the car in a nearby parking lot.
On Sunday, Bellevue Police arrested a 24-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman after they were caught driving stolen cars. The man allegedly tried to make off with a sports car that its owner had left running to warm up. The attempted theft from a downtown neighborhood failed dismally when the suspect chose a dead end near Enatai Neighborhood Park for eluding police. The woman, believed to be his accomplice, took the same route trying to help him flee.
The male suspect wrecked the car and ran. The woman abandoned her car, also stolen when it was left running to warm up, on an access driveway. Police caught and arrested both suspects in the immediate area after a search on foot.
Following arraignment yesterday the male suspect’s bail was set at $25,000 by a Superior Court judge. Information gleaned from those arrests led to the recovery of three more stolen vehicles by property crimes detectives and members of the Police Department’s Special Enforcement team. The investigation continues.
These two incidents, while small in scale, demonstrate the Bellevue Police Department’s greater commitment to combating vehicle crimes. In Monday’s case, the coordination and cooperation of multiple agencies made the arrest possible. The Sheriff’s Office developed their original case, passed the information to the state Department of Corrections in a timely manner, and the Bellevue Police responded to apprehend the suspect.
In Sunday’s case, a strong Patrol effort, followed up with a thorough investigation by SET and Detectives, led to the clearance of several cases. Close support from the County Prosecutor’s Office ensured a high bail amount, meaning the suspect will be less likely to get out of jail and steal more cars while awaiting trial.
Aggressive pursuit of car thefts has already produced big results for Bellevue. In the most recent statistics available, auto theft in Bellevue was down approximately 35 percent the first six months of 2006, compared to the same period in 2005.
Additionally, Bellevue is enjoying a reputation as a bad place to steal cars from, because the SET and auto theft investigators have been given wide parameters to seek out offenders wherever they go, well beyond the geographical limits of the city. This regional approach is showing remarkable results in a time when auto theft in the area is an epidemic problem.
Tips to avoid being an auto theft victim:
• Never leave a running car unattended. With the onset of cold weather, the temptation is to start the car and go back inside. This is a golden opportunity for a thief, which no anti-theft device can overcome.
• Lock your car doors and leave the windows up. It sounds simple, but a certain percentage of would-be thieves and prowlers look only for an easy, open door target.
• If you have an alarm, use it consistently. It may warn you in time to alert police of an in-progress crime or at least scare off the offender.
• Make sure you understand what your insurance covers in the event of theft of or from your car. Don’t get caught short for things like items left inside, or interior damage that may not fall under your policy.
• Never leave anything in your car you can’t replace or afford to lose.
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