A Kent Police Officer’s proactive patrol led to the recovery of two stolen vehicles and tens of thousands of dollars in stolen property.

Police said that Officer Burns was on patrol a couple weeks ago in the 24400 block of Russel Road when he noticed a suspicious truck sporting a badly altered trip permit.

Knowing that smudgy trip permits often signal stolen vehicles, he contacted the occupants. The driver, a 30-year-old Kent woman, and her passenger – a man in his 30s – had a shaky story, but not enough to detain them, so they drove off.


There was van next to the one that just left, so Burns continued to investigate. It had all the telltale signs of being stolen, but there was no plate attached. The VIN was gone from the dash, so he wrote a warrant to enter the van to view the VIN on the door. Once the warrant was approved, he found the secondary VIN, ran it, and confirmed that the van had indeed been stolen in King County. He investigated further and located the motel room where the couple that had driven off, were staying.

“Short story…(we know too late)…the subject who the couple had left behind in their room, a 38-year-old man of unknown residence, was contacted by Officers Burns and Stotler and arrested for two no bail Stolen Vehicle warrants out of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office,” police said. “He had tried to lie about his name, but that didn’t work….it rarely works. The room smelled like someone had been cooking drugs and the warrant suspect confirmed he was doing work for the couple for Fentanyl.”

The stolen van contained an extraordinary amount of property, including a motorcycle that was buried under a heap of tools. Much of the property had identifiable owners, so Officer Burns and his co-workers began the arduous and very lengthy process of contacting multiple owners to ID and retrieve their stolen/recovered property. The motorcycle had been stolen in Federal Way, and the tools from all over including landscaping jobsites and a vehicle prowl of a work truck in Tacoma.

Bob’s Heating and Air in Fife had lost $20,000 in tools when their vans were burglarized. Three full carts of their tools were recovered from inside the van and returned to their employees, (pictured below).

Officer Burns recovered two stolen vehicles, tens of thousands of dollars of property, arrested one adult for multiple stolen vehicle warrants, and developed enough solid suspect information to refer the ongoing case to our Detective Unit.

“These types of investigations take time, expertise, and a passion to both help victims, and put serial criminals in front of a judge,” police said. “Excellent job by Officer Burns.”

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...

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