The man accused of taking a car and two children from a Lacey parking lot on Wednesday morning was arrested in Portland on Thursday, according to the Lacey Police Department.
He was arrested on a state Department of Corrections warrant and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.
Two Lacey detectives left for Portland on Thursday and plan to interview the suspect, said Lacey Commander Jim Mack. Detectives also hope to transport the suspect to Thurston County.
The car and children were taken from the parking lot of Paramount Christian Academy while the children’s mother was dropping off a third child at a before-school childcare program. Lacey police responded to the scene at about 7 a.m., and the car and children were found on the 2600 block of College Street Southeast at about 7:40 a.m. The suspect had fled south on foot with a backpack from the car.
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Mack said the man boarded an Intercity Transit bus soon after abandoning the vehicle and exited the bus at the intersection of Ruddell Road and Balustrade Boulevard. He was seen about 15 minutes later walking toward Yelm Highway Southeast.
The suspect then boarded an Amtrak train and traveled to Portland, Mack said. Officers had shown the suspect’s picture, taken from Intercity Transit surveillance cameras, to Amtrak employees but no one recognized him.
After learning the man’s name, they were able to confirm that he had purchased a ticket and boarded the train Wednesday morning. The Olympian does not publish names of suspects until they have had a court appearance.
“It looks like he boarded the train not long after leaving the car,” Mack said. “It all happened pretty quickly.”
Lacey police released the suspect’s photo to the media late Wednesday afternoon, and a person who saw the photo on television was able to identify him, Mack said. Detectives contacted the Portland Police Bureau and asked officers to be on the lookout for the suspect.
A Portland officer eventually found the suspect riding the city’s light rail system. The officer initiated contact with the suspect and noticed that he was acting funny, Mack said. He ran the suspect’s name through the system and learned that he was wanted on a Washington Department of Corrections warrant.
Portland police found property belonging to the victims upon his arrest.
“We’re hoping that we can get that evidence photographed so that we can get it back to the victim as quickly as possible,” Mack said.