Teens arrested in car-theft spree

A car-stealing spree that started on a Tuesday in Coupeville and led to Oak Harbor ended with an arrest the next day on South Whidbey.

The suspects are two South Whidbey teens who were looking for a ride home after a day in truancy court, according to the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

The boys, both 16, one from Langley, the other from Clinton, allegedly stole four cars before one of the them was caught in a botched attempt to evade police, according to Lt. Evan Tingstad, with the sheriff’s office.

The second boy was picked up the next day after his accomplice revealed all.

The boys are not named because they are minors,

As of Friday, neither was charged with a crime. Both were released to their parents.

The first boy arrested revealed the stream of events, said Tingstad.

On Tuesday, one of the boys had a truancy court hearing in Coupeville on Tuesday, March 21; it’s not clear whether the second boy attended as a show of support, or whether the two met later.

At about 11 p.m.the teens were preparing to head home, but apparently missed the bus.

“They decided they were going to look for a car to steal to get home,” Tingstad said.

The boys apparently found an unlocked 2003 Dodge Dakota with the keys inside. Instead of heading home, though, they drove to Oak Harbor. Once there, they bought a few non-alcoholic “teen” beverages and then got into more mischief, according to Tingstad.

“So the passenger decides he wants his own stolen car,” Tingstad said.

The second vehicle was a Volvo, also unlocked and with the keys inside. The Volvo had mechanical problems, so the boys ditched that car and ended up at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island housing. There, Tingstad said, they found a home with an open garage with two Hyundais, both unlocked and with the keys inside.

Rolling out the cars so as not to awaken the residents, the boys allegedly started the cars and drove off, leaving the Dodge behind.

Navy security officers tried to pull the cars over, and the boys split up. One boy was apprehended after losing control of the car and wrecking it; the other boy drove back to the Dodge, got in, and drove it back to South Whidbey.

The Dodge was found ditched near a beach access at Sunlight Beach.

The case involved three different agencies — the Island County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Harbor Police Department and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island security.

Base security staff declined to comment.

Car thefts on Whidbey aren’t as uncommon as people think, said Tingstad, who offers some advice: “We suggest people lock their cars and take the keys out of the ignition.”

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