Alleged truck thief left cell phone

A 22-year-old Navy airman who allegedly stole a truck was caught after he left his cell phone inside the abandoned vehicle, court documents indicate.

Michael Hodge of Oak Harbor pleaded not guilty in Island County Superior Court June 22 to a single charge of taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree.

Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Waggoner investigated the case after finding a Chevrolet truck, with a gas cap dangling, parked near an entrance to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in the early morning of Jan. 26. He checked the registration and found that the truck had been stolen from a home in Rolling Hills.

The owner came to get the truck and reported that a power tool was missing, along with half a tank of gas. The owner then found a cell phone on the passenger side floor board; he said it wasn’t his.

Waggoner found photos on the phone that the owner of the cell phone apparently took of himself. The deputy brought the phone to the base, where Navy officials identified the man in the photos as Hodge.

Hodge’s friends told the deputy that they had a birthday party for him at a Rolling Hills home, next to the location where the truck was stolen. A man said Hodge was “extremely intoxicated,” walked outside and disappeared during the party, the report states.

Hodge told the deputy that he has no memory of what happened that night, but woke the next morning in the truck, Waggoner wrote.

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