EVERETT, Wash. —A Seattle-area couple recovered their own stolen vehicle and held the people in it at gunpoint until police arrived.
It happened Sunday afternoon in a south Everett McDonald’s parking lot near Highway 526.
Witness James Paulsen really didn’t know what he was looking at when he saw Everett police searching a black Range Rover in the McDonald’s parking lot as the vehicle owners watched.
“Neither one of the people were in handcuffs or in custody so there was real suspicion on my part,” Paulsen said.
It wasn’t until Monday morning he learned he was witnessing the aftermath of a sort of citizens’ arrest, and officers were pulling more than $10,000 of stolen goods out of the Range Rover.
“All the boxes they were taking out of the car appeared to be brand new stuff,” Paulsen said.
Aaron Snell with the Everett Police Department says when a couple spotted their own stolen SUV on the road, they followed it — safely — and then used their car to block it in.
The driver bolted across the street to the Cascade High School softball fields and attempted to blend into the crowd.
The couple held the three remaining passengers at gunpoint.
“The victim had gotten out of his car and approached his stolen vehicle with a weapon and demanded all the occupants stay inside the car,” Snell explained.
Police arrested the driver at the softball field; court documents identify him as Jonathan David Fowler, an Everett man with two outstanding theft warrants.
Paulsen still can’t believe the backstory — but he says he’s pretty impressed by it.
“The man had a concealed weapons permit, he held him at gunpoint, when he ran he didn’t shoot at him,” Paulsen said.
Snell says in situations like this, police recommend calling 911 and not holding a suspect at gunpoint.
However, the couple did dial 911 first.
As for the passengers, they were not arrested and are not considered suspects in the vehicle theft.