by: Joanna Small Updated:
AUBURN, Wash. - The Auburn Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for a man suspected of hot wiring and stealing a department SUV from a gated parking lot.
Detectives are searching for Suede Shuttle, 21, who they say is last known to have lived in Auburn. If y0u have seen Shuttle, or know where he is, contact the Auburn Police Department's tip line at (253) 288-7403 and refer to APD case 15-16616. If you see him, call 911.
A vigilant construction worker on Mercer Island is responsible for recovering the stolen SUV.
It was found December 28, 2015 after agencies searched all night for the vehicle taken right from the police department's secure lot.
Brad Sessler is used to seeing cars at his construction site up a private drive off West Mercer Way.
"There's usually a bunch of subcontractors,” the project manager told KIRO 7, but not police cars and not from Auburn.
"I just checked around a little bit and then came down here to the street and called police,” Sessler said after discovering the abandoned police vehicle.
Auburn police are glad he made that phone call. When Sessler showed up for work at 8 a.m. Monday, he inadvertently stumbled upon the vehicle every law enforcement agency in the state was looking for.
Auburn police say a man on a bicycle jumped their fence, got into a marked 2012 Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicle with a caged police issue rifle inside, and smashed through the security gate.
Apparently he picked the right vehicle, as most are locked.
"Presumably there was probably a key inside the vehicle and he found that,” explained Auburn police Commander Jamie Sidell.
Most aren't nearly as well stocked as this particular vehicle.
"That's our crash investigation car so it has a lot of investigative equipment in it for reconstructing collision scenes,” said Sidell.
And most don't have a full tank of gas, which got the suspect 30 miles north to Sessler’s work site.
The Tahoe appeared to be intact with all the equipment and the firearm accounted for, but Auburn police still towed it for evidence. They have the bike for evidence as well, because the suspect left that at the scene.
Even though Auburn police said they've never had a cruiser stolen, four years ago, one of their officers had his badge, gun and uniform stolen out of his truck.
That thief was caught.