WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Tire store steers police to suspected car thief

2:58 PM: Good thing automotive businesses are considered “essential.” One here just helped police catch a crime suspect. SPD Blotter just posted the story:

Police recovered three stolen vehicles on Monday after a suspected car thief tried to buy new tires with a forged check.

A West Seattle tire store contacted police after a 41-year-old man brought in a Mercedes and asked to replace some of its tires. He later returned and tried to pay with a clearly forged check, and then asked to apply for a line of credit even though he was unable to provide ID.

Employees at the tire shop became suspicious and contacted police and officers arrested the man Monday after he arrived at the shop to pick up the Mercedes. When officers took him into custody, he was carrying a license plate from another vehicle, which had apparently been stolen hours earlier but not yet been reported to police. At the time of the arrest, he was also wearing a jacket for a valet company, which had reported the Mercedes stolen.

During the investigation, police recovered several key fobs for other expensive cars, stolen checks taken in a recent burglary at a business, and ID cards belonging to other people, as well as modified keys typically used by auto thieves.

Police booked the 41-year-old man into the King County Jail for investigation of auto theft and are requesting charges related to the stolen license plate, possession of auto theft tools and providing a fake name to police. Major Crimes Unit detectives continue to investigate.

We’re following up to find out which shop, as well as the suspect’s status.

4:58 PM: The store was Les Schwab in The Triangle, according to the probable-cause document we have obtained. The suspect’s bail was set at $20,000 this afternoon. We’ll add more notes a bit later.

6:20 PM: The probable-cause document says the suspect “dropped off a blue 2020 Mercedes” at the shop last Thursday. He “returned several times over the course of the weekend and attempted to pay for services rendered to the vehicle using checks that either did not belong to him or were falsified (the business refused to accept these checks).” He “finally attempted to establish a line of credit through the business on 04/20/2020 but was unable to do so. At that time, the management at Les Schwab began to feel (he) was being suspicious and contacted SPD. In the process of reporting the incident to Dispatch, it was discovered that the Mercedes was a unverified stolen vehicle out of Seattle. At that time SPD officers responded to Les Schwab and management contacted (the suspect) to return to the store to pick up the vehicle.” He did, and was arrested. The report continues: “Inside the vehicle and upon search we located several shaved keys that are commonly used to steal vehicles.” The suspect gave various aliases, police say, but finally was identified; he has an extensive out-of-state record and was charged earlier this last year in another Seattle car-theft case – also involving a blue Mercedes.

8 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Tire store steers police to suspected car thief"

  • Beto April 21, 2020 (4:16 pm)

    Thanks so much to the tire store employees.  A criminal off the streets is always a good thing.

  • Wendell April 21, 2020 (6:23 pm)

    You’d think this fella would realize he’s in the wrong trade by age 41.

    • Rick April 22, 2020 (8:08 am)

      He should go back to his rocket science day job.

  • MrB April 21, 2020 (6:41 pm)

    My cargo van was stolen last summer, a month later it was recovered with 75 grams of meth inside. The perpetrator spent 2 days in jail and was never charged. My insurance rates skyrocketed.

    • B.W. April 22, 2020 (11:19 am)

      Why did your insurance rate go up?

  • Chuck April 21, 2020 (10:00 pm)

    If he was charged earlier this year, why was he out on the street?

    • WSB April 21, 2020 (10:05 pm)

      Charged doesn’t put you in jail indefinitely. Also, apologies, I have to correct that – he was charged last year, not this year, in that case.

  • McGruff April 22, 2020 (7:27 am)

    If he’s still doing it at 41, this is his career. Jail stints just come with the territory.

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