Four hours out of prison, police say, man steals truck, goes back to jail

While a Dodge Ram pickup truck sat disabled on the shoulder of Highway 18 in the early morning hours of Jan. 14, its owner, waiting for help to arrive, slept in the front seat.

What the owner got instead, police say, was Mason Eubanks, mere hours after his release from the Clark County Jail, holding what appeared to be a weapon and demanding the vehicle.

Eubanks, police say, got the truck but didn't get far.

Prosecutors on Jan. 30 formally charged the 22 year-old Sultan man with one count of theft of a motor vehicle.

According to charging papers submitted by the Washington State Patrol, here is what happened.

The truck's owner had been eastbound on Highway 18 near the Auburn-Black Diamond Road that morning when he ran out of gas. He pulled to the shoulder, called his father for help and, while waiting, fell asleep.

A knock on the window, according to court papers, awakened the owner to an ugly demand from a man holding what the owner believed to be a gun.

"Get out of the vehicle, or I will blow your brains out," the man snarled, according to court papers.

The owner left the truck, gave the keys to the man, walked away and called 911, keeping an eye on the thief, according to court papers.

In court papers, wrote Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jason Rittenreiser, Eubanks started the victim's truck and drove it down the road about 100 yards before it stopped again. According to Rittenreiser, Eubanks then got out and walked away as his victim stayed on the line with police.

A King County Sheriff's Officer later found Eubanks walking along Highway 18.

According to charging papers, while Eubanks sat in the back of the deputy's vehicle, he told a trooper that he, "had been hitchhiking from Vancouver," was "trying to get home to Snohomish County," and that he "had been released from Clark County Jail" at 10 p.m. the previous day.

When the trooper asked Eubanks why he had wanted the truck, according court papers, at first he responded that he "saw the truck with the lights on." But when the trooper repeated the question, Eubanks changed his answer to "What truck?," followed by an admission that he had "some booze" in him, according to court papers.

As police subsequently learned, according to court papers, Eubanks and a friend had earlier that day stolen a vehicle from the friend's aunt in Vancouver and driven it to Auburn before getting involved in a hit and run near 148th Avenue Southeast, where they abandoned it.

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