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Police looking for help identifying car prowler in Puyallup

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PUYALLUP — Car prowls continue to be a problem around Western Washington, but police in one city are hoping to identify at least one crook who was caught on camera.

“When I grew up, you could leave your car unlocked,” said Arlene Luton. “You could leave your house unlocked.”

She knows you can’t do that now, but she still never thought there’d be crime in her Puyallup neighborhood.

“You just don’t expect it to come out to your home, you know? This is where you’re supposed to feel safe. “

But a couple weeks ago, someone broke into the SUV parked right in front of her house. She remembers her dog barking that night.

“He was just growling just really bad, and we weren’t paying any attention to him. He kept walking up to the front door. I wish we had paid attention.”

Arlene lost a Kindle, some ceramic figures, and a car motor still in its box with its receipt. The next day, a man tried to return that motor to National Auto Parts. The store owner had a feeling something was wrong.

“She knew her customers,” said Puyallup police detective Mike Lusk. “So when she saw this particular part and the receipt with it, she said that’s one of my customers. This guy had a story that was his aunt and he’s bringing it back for her.”

When she found out the part had been stolen, she gave surveillance video of the suspect to police. They’re hoping someone can help them identify the man, who may be responsible for other thefts in the area.

Car prowls aren’t just a problem in the South Sound. In the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, there were 87 reports in the month of October. Redmond police say they’ve gotten 21 reports in just the last week.

“You never know, it could be your neighborhood, it could be any neighborhood,” Lusk said. “It really doesn’t matter, it’s just a crime of opportunity.”

Arlene said she’s learned her lesson about leaving items in plain sight. Now she just wants the man caught, so he won’t steal from anyone else.

“He was apparently not raised with manners. He was apparently not raised with any values.”

Police say if this suspect is caught, he will face theft and trafficking charges, since he tried to sell back those stolen auto parts.

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6 comments

  • Mike clarke

    It wouldn’t be hard to catch the thieves if the cops would actually show up and take finger prints with the burglary report ! My car was broken in to and Tacoma PD took the report over the phone and told me check pawn shops for my items…thanks for nothing

    • adam hospenthal

      there all good to pull u over and make you late to work trying to bully good citizens thinking they don’t know there rights. puyallup pd are just as disapointing yesterday morning my girlfriend took the kids to their daycare and within 3 minutes someone had broken into her car and busted out two other cars windows and stole her laptop work phone cell phone purse and God knows whatever else the other women had stolen but my girls work phone had been sending a location report for every time it was turned on every google search when they went through her emails Google search everytime they left there wifi radius and everytime rentered assuming to have a smoke. 23 total blips at the same 2 houses in tacoma. and McDonald’s at the mall for wifi. for 3.5 hrs she tried to get the people we pay to protect us to help her even gave them the suspects car blue mini van asked them to check McDonald’s cameras. they wasted enough time so it would be useless just like a puyallup po and dispatch than finally they told her to park within safe distance (in the car they just robbed) than call them. I am so pissed off still she needs Id ssc debt our lease and a copy. who’s more pathetic our so call police or the thief robbing mom’s at daycare. they think its not worthy of there time. drug addicts are broke so they steal in hopes for cash or straight across trade for dope. everytime
      . the first house was the dealers the second house was the thief’s than McDonald’s for wifi. shit needs to change puyallup is an car prowler paradise because the cops here don’t care

  • kathleen

    My teuck was broken into at the south hill movie theater at the mall last week. Noticed a guy standing near the building with a backpack on with his back to us. Thouht he was lighting a cigarette. When the movie was over we fou d that our truck had been broken into. Report was taken over the phone by police. Noticed later he spit a luggy on my car mat. I have dna. Would be nice if they teated this guy against the spit he left. It was probably the same asshole. Already spent 1000 replacing what he stole. Makes me sick!