Stolen police cruiser found abandoned, detectives searching for suspect

AUBURN, Wash. -- An alert construction worker on Mercer Island discovered the stolen Auburn Police cruiser abandoned on Monday morning.

Someone stole the SUV from the Auburn Police Station parking lot. Inside the police cruiser was expensive electronic equipment and a locked police rifle.

On Monday police recovered the rifle, along with expensive electronic equipment, still inside the cruiser.

So far police aren’t certain about a motive but investigators believe drugs may have played a factor.

“It sounds like somebody made some really stupid decisions,” said Gaylene Vaten who lives near where the cruiser was recovered.

Investigators secured the police vehicle after it was discovered in a driveway along the 8200 block of West Mercer Way.

“It doesn’t seem like a logical place to leave a car,” said Vaten.

Investigators said the thief jumped the secure fence at Auburn Police headquarters around 6:30 Sunday night. Cops said the crook left behind a bicycle and traded it in for a marked police SUV, and then smashed through the gate.

“You’ve got to ask yourself why he would break into a secured police lot to steal a police vehicle,” said Auburn Police Commander Jamie Sidell. “In my experience it seems there was some kind of drugs involved in that decision making process.”

Nearly 30 miles away on Mercer Island, a construction worker spotted the cruiser abandoned. Police were stunned to find the rifle, and everything else inside the cruiser, had been untouched.

“Everything’s accounted for,” said Sidell. "The rifle, the equipment, is all intact. We brought it back to our evidence location for processing for evidence."

Police are attempting to lift fingerprints from the cruiser and the bike. Investigators are also scouring through surveillance video looking for clues to identify the suspect.