Kent 911 call about suspicious vehicle leads to arrests

Man, woman were passed out in vehicle at East Hill gas station

A 911 call about a suspicious vehicle in Kent led to the arrests of a man and a woman on a variety of charges.

Officers were dispatched Friday morning, Sept. 1 to the 24000 block of 116th Avenue SE regarding a suspicious vehicle, according to a Kent Police statement. The vehicle was parked at an ampm gas station pump for a lengthy period with the driver’s door cracked open.

When officers arrived, they were updated that the driver was passed out and had a gun on his lap.

Officers ran the vehicle and discovered that the license plates were stolen, according to police. The plates belonged on a Toyota but were mounted on a Kia Optima, a vehicle that is commonly targeted by car thieves, according to police. Police later determined the vehicle had been stolen in Renton.

Waking up a reportedly unconscious gun-toting adult in a stolen vehicle takes a bit of strategy to keep everyone safe, police said. Officers boxed the car in to keep it from fleeing into the community, then quickly and quietly approached the vehicle and stealthily removed the gun from his lap.

As they backed away the driver, a 43-year-old Auburn man, woke up, and then followed the officer’s commands to exit the vehicle. As he climbed out, he reportedly dropped a bag of white powder on the ground.

An additional person, a 33-year-old Auburn woman, was located passed out in a different part of the car and removed.

The Kia’s ignition had been punched and torn out, according to police.

The handgun, a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, had been stolen out of Bellingham earlier this year. The driver/suspect stated he was not aware that the vehicle with a torn-out ignition was stolen, did not know how the gun got into his lap, but did admit he was a convicted felon, for a 2020 unlawful firearm possession arrest.

In the search incident prior to arrest, the suspect reportedly had a bag containing 53 blue pills suspected to be fentanyl in his pocket. Additional bags of white powder were later located, weighing together close to 100 grams.

The suspect driver was taken to the hospital and medically cleared for booking. He was arrested for investigation of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm due to his previous conviction. Drug charges are pending.

The passenger/suspect was woken up and found to be in possession of an emaciated dog, and a bag of powered fentanyl. She was arrested for investigation of second-degree animal cruelty, possession of a controlled substance and vehicle trespass.

The dog was turned over to the King County animal shelter receiving an evaluation and appropriate care.

Multiple officers were needed to handle this call, according to police.

“They did a great job of working as a tactical team, divvying up the suspect transports, dog transport, collecting and submitting tons of evidence, procuring documents for the report, towing the recovered stolen vehicle, and taking statements and pictures,” according to police.

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