Wash. EMS providers interrupt man burglarizing car

They pulled the ambulance up behind two cars on a highway shoulder, believing a collision had occurred, and saw a man stealing from a broken-down vehicle


By Patty Hastings
The Columbian

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Ambulance personnel interrupted a man who was stealing from a disabled car Thursday afternoon on Interstate 205.

Manuel Garcia’s 1997 Mercedes broke down and was left on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes, just south of Mill Plain Boulevard. A man driving a 1999 Jeep Cherokee pulled up behind the Mercedes and broke a window to get inside, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn. The man stole a radio and CDs, and tore up the backseat to grab items that were in the trunk, Finn said.

An American Medical Response ambulance drove up behind the two cars, believing a collision had just occurred, and saw the man burglarizing the car. The man then ran up the onramp to Mill Plain Boulevard while the medical personnel called 911 to report the crime, Finn said.

Troopers caught up with the man, later identified as 39-year-old Justin Bernert, near Southeast Seventh Street and Chkalov Drive, about a block away from Cinetopia. The Longview man was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of third-degree malicious mischief and third-degree driving with a suspended license.

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©2015 The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.)

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