Mercer Island Police caught a 21-year-old car thief on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Lid Park as he tried to hotwire a car parked there.
City maintenance workers called police at 8:18 a.m. after they noticed a "suspicious person" in the park near the WSDOT office on 72nd Ave. SE. near the Feroglia Fields baseball diamond.
Mercer Island Police officers arrived a short time later and found the man sitting inside a Kia Sportage parked in the WSDOT office parking lot. The passenger door window was broken out and the vehicle's steering column and wiring was significantly damaged, said police.
The man claimed the vehicle's owner had "traded" vehicles with him. Police soon determined the Kia owner was a WSDOT employee, and contacted him. The vehicle owner denied any such trade had taken place and had not given permission to anyone to be inside the car or to drive it, and the suspect was promptly arrested and booked into the King County Jail.
"It doesn't happen that often," Jokinen said. "Our officers got there in time and he was still there."
MIPD Commander Dave Jokinen said patrol officers noted the suspect appeared somewhat disoriented when he was confronted by police.
"I think maybe the guy was under the influence of something as well," Jokinen said.
(Ed. Note: The Mercer Island Police Blotter is not intended to be representative of all crime on Mercer Island, but is instead a representation of police activity from the persepctive of the MIPD.)