An alert Washington County Sheriff's deputy helped capture a suspected prolific car thief in the act.
Hillsboro resident Travis Kitchen, 21, was arrested Saturday and charged with four counts of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, four counts of First Degree Theft, and four counts of Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle. He also had an outstand warrant for his arrest for absconding from the Corrections Center. Kitchen was lodged in the Washington County Jail held on $25,000 bail.
Kitchen is suspected of stealing three other cars in the four days before his arrest.
According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, on Feb. 2, a deputy was recovering a found stolen vehicle on Southwest Alderwood Drive near Southwest 185th Avenue in Aloha, an area of the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District. While recovering that vehicle, the deputy received information that a silver colored Ford Fusion was recently reported stolen from the Tigard area.
The deputy then observed a Fusion matching the description of the stolen car drive past his location. The deputy immediately followed the car, waiting for a safe location to initiate a traffic stop.
Assisted by additional deputies, the deputy stopped the vehicle at Southwest 185th Avenue and Southwest Blanton Street. The driver and only occupant in the Fusion was Kitchen.
Deputies were then able to connect Kitchen to three additional vehicle thefts in the previous four days. The thefts were from Hillsboro, Tigard, and unincorporated Washington County.
Deputies believe Kitchen would search for vehicles that had the keys left inside and quickly steal them. It was reported that two of the stolen vehicles were "warming up" in front of the owner's residence when stolen.
All four of the vehicles were recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
Previously, Kitchen was ordered to stay at the ashington County Community Corrections Center for prior crime sentencing. He left on Jan. 29, 2013, and failed to return that evening.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office reminds citizens to not leave keys or valuables unattended in their vehicles.