By Bill Sheets / Herald Writer
Charles Williamson won’t leave his car running unattended in his driveway any time again soon.
When he did it Monday morning, his $59,000 GMC Yukon Denali was stolen.
“I went in the house to get some stuff for two minutes, not even that,” said Williamson, who lives north of Lynnwood near 136th Street SW and Highway 99. “I heard a noise, and when I came out, my car was going up the road.”
The same thing happened to five other people in south Snohomish County between 3 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Monday, police said. It is not known whether the incidents are related.
Some of those who left their cars running did so to let them warm up in the cold weather, Lynnwood police spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said.
Three of the cars, including Williamson’s, were found later in the morning and returned to their owners. One of the two men believed to have stolen Williamson’s car, a 20-year-old Mountlake Terrace man, was arrested.
Two of the thefts took place at convenience stores, at 164th Street SW and 13th Avenue W. near Martha Lake, another on 148th Street SW at an undisclosed cross street, Sessions said.
The other thefts were committed in front of private homes, in the 20800 block of Hillcrest Place and the 7300 block of 210th Street SW in Edmonds; the 300 block of 134th Street SW near Lynnwood, and at Williamson’s north of Lynnwood, Sessions said.
All these took place between 6:15 and 7:30 a.m., she said.
Fortunately for Williamson, he spent an extra $700 on an electronic tracking device when he bought his 2004 Yukon Denali.
Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace police officers received a signal from the device, and the car was found unattended near 224th Street SW and 60th Avenue W. in Mountlake Terrace.
Witnesses gave police descriptions of two men seen fleeing from the car.
The Lynnwood officer saw one of the men on foot and followed him to St. Pius X Roman Catholic church at 22301 58th Ave. W., Sessions said. The officer got out of his car, questioned the man, and the man ran off. The officer chased him for two blocks, tackled him and arrested him, she said.
Aside from keeping a vehicle attended while it’s running, she recommended several other safety measures:
* Completely close all windows and lock all doors.
* Remove all valuables.
* Park in well-lit locations, avoid isolated areas.
* Install an alarm systems with ignition or fuel kill switches.
* Install a steering wheel locking device or a vehicle tracking system.
“This is such an easy crime to prevent,” Sessions said.
Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.