The stolen Escalade had traveled through two countries
and across many state lines before it landed in Washington, where
Bremerton police inadvertently sold it at an
We told you about this particular Cadillac Escalade in early
October, after the unknowing purchaser of the SUV had it seized
by the Washington State Patrol. In turn,
he filed a lawsuit against the Bremerton Police Department.
The city’s lawyers have been digging into the case to figure out
what happened. While the lawsuit continues, here’s what they’ve
found out thus far: the Escalade was seized in a 2003 coke bust
and, per Washington law, forfeited to the police department.
Police checked with the Washington State Department
of Licensing to see if it was stolen.
“There was no evidence that the vehicle was stolen,” Bremerton
Assistant City Attorney Mark Koontz said in a statement. “The
police department eventually sold the vehicle at auction as
authorized by state law.”
It wasn’t until summer 2011 that police here found out the
Washington State Patrol had seized the SUV, finding it was stolen.
State patrol officials informed the city the Escalade was stolen
off an auto dealer’s lot in Canada in 2002, before it landed
in Indiana, Missouri, Michigan and finally, Washington.
Much mystery still shrouds the how and why it went state to
state, as it was never reported stolen in that time, city attorney
But state troopers were able to uncover its identity by finding
more obscure locations of its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
The number had been falsified in its more obvious locations on the
dash board in in the driver’s side door.
Koontz said rarely does local law enforcement have specialized
training at finding hidden VIN numbers and believes
“the police department acted reasonably,” in backgrounding the
SUV before auctioning it off.
“Even so, the city is hopeful that it can reach a resolution to
this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” he said.
I’ve not yet heard back from the lawyer for the plaintiff in the
case, but I’ll let you know when I do.
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