A 28-year-old Centralia man was booked into the Lewis County Jail Saturday night after he apparently stole a Humvee from the Centralia Police Department.
About 6 p.m. Saturday, the man entered the Centralia Police Department compound on Mellen Street and drove off with the Humvee, Sgt. Dave Clary said Sunday. The facility is fenced, but a mechanical gate wasn't working correctly at the time of the incident. It has since been fixed, he said. A military Humvee also doesn't require a key to be started, Clary added.
"Anyone with a little knowledge would be able to potentially operate one," he said. He added that the Centralia Police Department acquired the Humvee as military surplus to augment its SWAT team.
Meanwhile, the man in the Humvee sheared off a light pole before getting onto northbound Interstate 5. The vehicle then stalled north of milepost 85. Passersby pulled over to help the man in his stalled Humvee, but then he apparently explained to them that he had just stolen it. One of those Good Samaritans then called 911.
Clary said the man "took a couple swings" at those who had stopped to help, but by then the Centralia police had arrived.
The man was booked into jail on suspicion of burglary in the second degree and theft of a motor vehicle. He also was thought to be driving under the influence of drugs, not alcohol, Clary said.