Lynnwood man gets pepper-sprayed trying to stop thieves from breaking into his car

LYNNWOOD, Wash. – A car theft victim is lucky to have escaped relatively unharmed after he tried to stop thieves from breaking into his car Thursday morning.

Snohomish County sheriff's detectives would later learn that one of the three suspects is a convicted felon, with warrants out for his arrest.

Shari Ireton, with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, said that suspect, arrested for robbery, used pepper spray against the car’s owner, and even fought deputies when confronted.

“Who thinks that someone is going to do something like that in broad daylight?” asked Julie Eldred.

The Sierra Vista resident was sitting on her front porch around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, when she saw her neighbor run past her.

“I thought, oh, no big deal, he’s late for work or something.”

She said she looked down at her phone, and looked up a few moments later  and she could see he was on the ground, wrestling with another man.

“I thought that’s weird, they are playing around or what, but then another guy across the street jumped out of a truck and came running at him and had something in his hand. I thought it was a Slim Jim, turns out it was a crowbar.”

Ireton said deputies believe three people were behind the attempted car theft, including the suspect they caught. She said one of the suspects used pepper spray on the victim, upping the charges from burglary to robbery.

“Things could’ve gotten much worse for the victim here,” Ireton said. “The suspect in this case was a convicted felon, had a warrant out for a parole violation. When he was contacted by officers, he resisted.”

Ireton said car prowls along the I-5 corridor are on the rise.

“Day cares, people literally going in to drop off their kids, come back out and their car has been prowled. Grocery stores, churches, trail heads. Really there’s no place that’s safe,” she said.

Ireton said the sheriff’s office is hoping to spread the message that people should not confront suspects, if they catch a crime in action. Instead, they want you to call 9-1-1, make sure you are in a safe location, and do your best to document everything you see. If you can, take video of the crime while waiting for police.

“A car is going to get there quick,” said Ireton. “Let them follow up, let them build a case, sometimes not only because will we catch that one person for that one crime, we can actually catch them for multiple things,” she said.