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Prosecutor charges man found in Auburn with stolen Subaru

Auburn Police say that on the morning of Jan. 6, they found 23-year-old Paul Nelson of Issaquah in the driver’s seat of a stolen Subaru Impreza in the 100 block of L Street Northeast.

And as events unfolded, police say, they found a bottle of illegally-possessed Adderall in the car.

On Jan. 8, the King County Prosecutor’s Office charged Nelson with one count of car theft and one count of violating the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Nelson is in jail on $20,000 bail because, as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Marlana Cooper told the court at his bail hearing, his recent criminal history shows him to be a flight risk with a record of not showing up to court although ordered to do so.

In the last six months, Cooper told the court, Nelson failed to appear in court for a case setting on Dec. 16, 2020, and remained at large until his Jan. 6 arrest. He was facing pending charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle reckless driving and hit-and-run on an unattended vehicle.

“The defendant is also likely to interfere with the administration of justice,” Cooper told the court. “As supported by his arrest while out of jail and under such conditions in two 2020 felony matters, he is unable to follow court-ordered conditions of release requiring lawful behavior. The defendant is therefore at risk to interfere with the administration of justice by flouting court order permitting his conditional release.”

Nelson’s arraignment is on Jan. 21.

Here is what happened. according to the Certification for Determination of Probable Cause, written by Auburn Police Detective Aaron Scrivo.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Jan. 6, an Auburn police officer on routine patrol spotted a blue Subaru parked on L Street Northeast. When the officer ran the plate, it came back as a vehicle that had been stolen in Seattle the night before.

According to documents, the officer chirped his siren several times before apparently waking up Nelson. But instead of complying with the officer’s order to show his hands and lie down on the ground, Nelson took off on foot with police in pursuit. The short chase that ensued ended, according to the CDPC. when Nelson fell on a sidewalk.

According to the police account, as Nelson was leaving the vehicle, he dropped a key ring with several shaved keys on it, which car thieves use to defeat the internal mechanisms of ignitions and start cars. When the officer checked the vehicle’s VIN number, it turned out to be the missing car.

According to documents, in a conversation with police, Nelson changed his story several times without acknowledging that he had driven the stolen car, only that he had slept in it to keep warm. Finally, he claimed that he had found it in Seattle with the keys in it, assumed it was stolen, got in, and drove it to Auburn, where police found him.

Inspection of the car turned up a number of shaved keys to various vehicle makes.

Nelson has the following convictions in Washington state: solicitation to commit a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, 2018; first-degree criminal trespassing, 2012; third-degree theft, 2012; second-degree vehicle prowling, 2011; and third-degree possession of stolen property, 2011.

Nelson also has the two pending felony matters listed above, for which he has not yet been convicted.


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