Police: Car prowl suspect kidnapped woman in bid to escape

Updated:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. —

A car prowler who was caught in the act escaped when he forced a woman at gunpoint to get behind the wheel of her car and drive him from the scene.


The suspect, James M. Craver, 28, was later captured, police told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Lee Stoll.

 

Officers responded to a report that a victim of an attempted car prowl was chasing the prowler near West Bakerview Road and Eliza Avenue around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.

 

As police were responding, several more calls came into the Whatcom Dispatch Center about a man in the same area who was trying to get into at least two occupied vehicles. Callers said he got into one vehicle, forcing the occupant to drive away.

 

A witness provided a license plate of the victim's vehicle to officers. Officers contacted the registered owner of the vehicle in Skagit County who gave them the cellphone number of the female victim, still inside the vehicle with the suspect.

 

A police sergeant called the woman's number, and the suspect answered the call. The sergeant who called did not identify himself, but asked to speak with the driver as if he knew her, police said. The victim was able to speak with the sergeant briefly but was not able to give her location before the suspect pulled the phone away and disabled it.

 

Around 7 p.m., the sergeant received a call on his cellphone from the victim's phone. She was found safe, with her vehicle in the 1600 block of Iowa Street. The suspect had fled the area on foot. 

 

Craver was arrested near Pacific Street late Wednesday morning, police said.