Last Sunday, Tumwater police initiated a traffic stop of two men who were arguing in a car that turned out to be stolen.
The driver, Jose Perez III, 30, a transient living in Tacoma, was taken into custody for being in possession of a stolen vehicle, a 2009 Kia Spectra, on June 6. After Perez was out of the car and speaking with officers he allegedly said “I didn't know," before being informed the car was stolen.
Perez has felony warrants in Pierce County for residential burglary and identity theft, along with driving while license suspended.
The passenger of the stolen vehicle waived his rights and talked to the police.
Perez and the passenger were seen arguing by the TPD officer who pulled them over. The passenger confirmed that the argument was over the stolen vehicle and the passenger’s comments about “the cartel.” Perez said he was “worried about what he had gotten himself into,” according to the police report.
The passenger had met Perez near the Federal Way transit center, offering him $20 for a ride for a ride to Olympia to meet with a female and also gave Perez $12 for cigarettes. The passenger told police that the pair stopped in Lakewood so that Perez could shoot up.
The passenger, who was released at the scene, told a Tumwater police officer that “people would kill him” and asked to be either arrested or taken to the Olympia Police Department. The passenger said that he wanted a report taken because Perez would not let him out of the vehicle. The passenger then started to complain of chest pains, mentioning that he had had a heart attack the previous day. The passenger was evaluated by medics and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Police confirmed that the Spectra was stolen on June 4; its Seattle-based owner agreed to come to Tumwater to retrieve it and asked that it be secured where it was stopped.
Perez was booked into the Thurston County Jail for possession of a stolen vehicle.