Police arrest car thief driving the wrong way on a one-way street in Pullman

PULLMAN, WA - A Spokane man is in jail after being accused of stealing a car and getting pulled over in it hours later.

He was caught driving in the wrong direction down a one-way street. Police said it was a crime of opportunity. Rachel Dubrovin tells us what you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a similar crime.

At about 6:00 on Tuesday evening, Pullman police received a report of a stolen vehicle. Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said the owner parked the Chevy minivan on Nye Street while he was shopping at the Palouse Treasures Thrift Store. When he returned, it was gone.

"About three hours later, a patrol officer noticed a car driving the wrong way on Maiden Lane, which is the Greek Rowe area of College Hill," said Tennant. "Made a traffic stop and it was the stolen car."

Commander Tennant said the officer arrested 47-year-old Spokane resident Gary Walter on a felony charge of Possession of Stolen Property. Walter was taken to the Whitman County Jail.

"He did have a dog with him, we took that to the Humane Society," said Tennant.

Tennant calls this a crime of opportunity.

"The vehicle was left unlocked with the keys left in it," said Tennant.

Preventing crimes of opportunity is simple, you just have to remember to roll up your windows, take your keys with you, and you need to remember to lock your doors.

"Vehicle prowl is a very popular crime because somebody could just be walking up and down the street, looking in cars, looking for valuables, and if you leave your car unlocked and you leave your windows down, you just make it that much easier for criminals," said Tennant.

The vehicle wasn't damaged and it was returned to its owner Tuesday night. Walter was released from jail Wednesday afternoon.