SEATTLE - Seattle police and U.S. Marshals have found a violent sex offender who fled Canada last week and entered Washington state, but Canada has declined to extradite him and local police cannot arrest him. However, they say they cannot take him into custody because Canada isn't asking for his return to the country.
He was found in downtown Seattle earlier Friday after authorities received tips indicating Michael Sean Stanley might be in the Seattle area.
According to police, Stanley, 48, is a convicted and dangerous sex offender who cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet Oct. 1 in Edmonton, Alberta.
He has a record of targeting victims from 15 months old to 81 years old. According to court documents, he even grabbed children off playgrounds.
Stanley was put on electronic monitoring after his release from prison in 2011. He wasn't supposed to go farther than 31 miles from Edmonton without police permission.
Police say that on Oct. 7 he crossed into Washington at the Blaine border crossing.
Stanley has a previous record in Washington. In 1983, when he was 18, he pleaded guilty to burglary. Court documents claim he broke into a house, and then ran when the resident woke up and saw him.
Because of his extensive juvenile record, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Canadian officials have declined to extradite Stanley at this time, and as Seattle police have not received any information that Stanley has committed any crimes while in the U.S., the Seattle Police Department is unable to arrest him at this time.
Law enforcement officials on both sides of the U.S. border are working to resolve what police said is a "very complicated situation."
Sgt. Sean Whitcomb of the Seattle Police Department said police cannot arrest him because Canada is not asking for his extradition.
"So you're saying it doesn't matter how dangerous he is, you cannot legally arrest him?" KIRO 7 asked.
"That is correct," Whitcomb said. "He's not committed a crime here in the United States."
"This is their problem," resident Tina Gunn said. "They let this guy get away. So they shouldn't be able to say, 'We don't want him back.'"
In the meantime, Seattle police have ordered Stanley to immediately register as a sex offender in Washington, which would bring him under law enforcement supervision. Law enforcement officials said they could arrest Stanley if he fails to do so.
"Does this require specific resources diverted to keeping track of him now?" KIRO 7 asked.
"It's certainly a case that we hadn't planned on accepting, especially one that's this significant," Whitcomb said.
"Are you talking about thousands of dollars to track this offender?" KIRO 7 asked.
"I can't put a price tag on it," Whitcomb said.
"Hours of officers' time?"
"Certainly hours," he said.
Police are urging people to cautious and watchful in downtown Seattle. They hope Canadian authorities change their minds, but for now, Stanley is Seattle's problem.
Alberta authorities said Stanley's offense of cutting off his ankle bracelet, which was a violation of an order, is not a criminal charge, so it can't ground an extradition.
"If Michael Stanley returns to Canada, we remain prepared to prosecute him and to ensure that he continues to be subject to an order to protect the public," the statement said.