Police: Attempted ‘Grinch’ caught with stolen vehicle, presents

Car filled with gifts left running gets stolen on Christmas morning; officers make quick arrest

Kelly Sullivan

A car filled with gifts and the owner’s purse was reported stolen from outside a Sultan home on Christmas, but the suspect didn’t get far.

Sultan Police were dispatched just before 1 a.m. to look for the 2015 Nissan Versa, which had been left warming up in the driveway. Monroe Police headed out to assist, according to the agency’s administrative director Debbie Willis.

About 12 minutes later Monroe Police Sgt. Paul Ryan spotted the car. The driver was heading west on U.S. Highway 2 near Kelsey Street in Monroe. Officers had to make a high-risk stop, according to Willis. The suspect was taken into custody and the car and its contents were returned.

About seven vehicles are stolen in Snohomish County every day, according to the Snohomish County Auto Theft Task Force. More than 2,700 were reported missing in 2015. According to the Washington State Patrol, one in five crimes occur when someone leaves a key in the car. Vehicles are more likely to be taken on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington, which has one of the highest rates of auto theft in the nation.

Cars are often stolen when people leave their car running to warm up. WSP Detective Sgt. Jason Knott has said it creates an opening for thieves to easily move in. Often SNOCAT sees a spike in vehicles reported as stolen when the temperatures start to dip during the colder months.

The maximum sentence for taking a motor vehicle is up to eight years in prison. Being in possession of a stolen vehicle carries a potential sentence of up to nearly five years.

“Fortunately, this Grinch did not steal Christmas, and all the victim’s Christmas presents were returned to her,” Ryan said in an MPD news release.


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