Suspected mail thief tries to flee on kayak, but forgets paddle

SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- Police arrested two people suspected of mail theft. One was caught after a slow-speed chase on a kayak -- slow-speed because the suspect forgot to take a paddle.

Brian Conway said Thursday he was in an upstairs room of his home on Lake Sammamish on Wednesday, when some movement outside caught his eye.

“I saw this guy running on the boat ramp of the next door neighbor's" house, he said.

A few seconds later, Brian saw the man jump onto his dock and run toward his kayak.

“He was very athletic and energetic. Flipped the thing over and headed off, like a surfer paddling along the side.”

Brian ran to his garage to get his other kayak. His son Nolan was coming home at the time. He immediately paddled after the thief.

“I was little nervous about getting in a tussle with the guy, having him dump me or take my paddle,” Nolan admitted. “So I sort of kept my distance.”

The thief didn’t have a paddle, so it didn’t take Nolan long to catch up. Nolan said he looked wet and cold.

“He immediately volunteered to go ashore.”

By the time they got to shore, the police were there. They had been chasing the suspected thief and his girlfriend after they ditched their car several blocks away. It was full of stolen mail, police say.

“He was apologizing to me as we got to the dock,” Nolan said. “The police said, 'You have many more people to apologize to.' They were not happy with him.”

“I didn’t realize he was trying to escape,” Brian added. “I thought it was a kayak theft. I didn’t realize it was part of a larger scheme.”

They’re glad the suspect was caught, and that their neighbors will get their mail back.

“I think, in retrospect, and he’ll have time to think about this, the water escape was not a good idea,” said Brian. “The moral here is if you’re going to steal a kayak, you want to be sure to steal the paddle, too.”

The suspect’s girlfriend was also taken into custody. The car they were in had also been stolen, so the two are facing several charges of theft, police say.