Man sentenced for stealing running car

A man who kissed a stranger and stole a car parked in front of a 7-Eleven was sent to prison.

A man who kissed a stranger and stole a car parked in front of a 7-Eleven North in Oak Harbor was recently sent to prison.

Justin D. Brown, 30, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court April 22 to theft of a motor vehicle, assault in the fourth degree and vehicle prowl in the second degree.

Under a plea bargain, both the prosecution and defense recommended a sentence of 20 months in prison, which was in the middle of the standard sentencing range. The judge agreed and imposed the sentence.

On Feb. 27, Brown opened the door of a car in the convenience store parking lot, grabbed the woman in the driver’s seat by the neck and kissed her. The woman elbowed him and yelled; he apologized and left.

Brown then got into a nearby 1990 Mazda that had been left running in the lot. The owner yelled at him and opened the car door as he backed up and drove away.

The stolen car was seen by multiple officers who tried to stop it; the car veered through the cemetery to avoid them. The police ended the pursuit due to a new state law that limits such chases.

A few hours later, the owner of the stolen car told police she found it parked at Harbor Village Apartments. The car had blood all over it, both inside and out, and items were stolen, the report states.

Several hours later, police officers located Brown. He allegedly admitted to taking the car, trying to kiss a woman and driving away from police “in a daze,” a police report states.

Brown, who had injuries to his head, said he had been bleeding after he got into a physical fight with a woman who had taken the keys from him.