Auburn man accused of trying to kidnap barista makes court appearance

An Auburn man accused of trying to kidnap a bikini barista on Jan. 16 pleaded not guilty in court on Thursday.

Matthew William Darnell, 38, is set to begin his trial on March 21. He’s charged with one count of second-degree attempted kidnapping. Darnell will also be in court for a hearing in late February.

Darnell was arrested on Jan. 17, a day after the Auburn Police Department released surveillance video of an attempted abduction.

The video shows a man in a Chevy Silverado grabbing a barista’s wrist as she hands him cash. In the video, the man unsuccessfully tries to use a looped, zip tie device that he’s holding in his other hand. The barista pulls free, then the man drives away, the video shows.

The video also shows a “Chevrolet” tattoo on the man’s forearm.

Auburn police were able to identify the suspect as Matthew Darnell “after numerous tips about the identity of the suspect were received,” according to court documents.

Auburn police detectives believe Darnell “attempted to place the looped zip tie around the head of the victim, as if to lasso her,” according to court documents.

Officers arrested Darnell at his home, where he “stated he wanted to turn himself in,” according to court documents. Records also show detectives matched the tattoo on Darnell’s forearm and his facial features from the surveillance video. Detectives also found a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado registered to Darnell, according to documents.

Officers also found a black-colored, looped zip tie in Darnell’s car, along with an additional bundle of zip ties in his bedroom.

Darnell’s bail was set at $500,000. If released, he will be monitored via GPS and is not allowed to have any contact with all bikini barista stands in Washington state.