Stolen truck returned at gunpoint

The owner of a stolen pickup truck pointed a gun at the man in the driver’s seat to get his keys back

The owner of a stolen pickup truck found the vehicle in a South Whidbey grocery store parking lot, pointed a gun at the man in the driver’s seat and ordered him to give the keys back, according to court documents.

Deputies responded to the scene of the incident and arrested two men who had been in the stolen vehicle. One of the men was later released. The other man, 35-year-old Jason A. Blackwell of Oak Harbor, was charged in Island County Superior Court Feb. 22 with possession of a stolen vehicle, identity theft in the second degree and possessing stolen property in the second degree.

Deputies responded to the report of a stolen vehicle at the Red Apple parking lot in Clinton on Feb. 20. The owner of the 1998 GMC flatbed truck reported that the two men were inside the pilfered pickup. The owner admitted to pointing a gun at Blackwell, who was in the driver’s seat, according to the deputy’s report. Blackwell complied and handed over the keys.

Blackwell told a deputy that he and his friend were picked up in the truck by a man who offered them money to help take items to the dump. Blackwell said the man left them in the truck and said he would be back, but never returned. Blackwell allegedly admitted to driving the truck, the report states.

The deputy searched Blackwell and found a keychain with miscellaneous car keys, which Blackwell said he found and kept, the report states. The charging documents also alleged that he was in possession of debit and credit cards that didn’t belong to him.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said the man who brandished the gun doesn’t face charges because it was “arguably a lawful use of force under the circumstances,” although it would have been a different if he had pulled the trigger or gone beyond what was necessary to recover his truck. He said, “people should rely on law enforcement whenever possible.” In addition, prosecutors cannot charge someone based on a confession unless there is independent evidence.