A 26-year-old man’s first mistake was allegedly stealing a tractor-trailer rig that had been left unattended with the engine running, police say.
His second blunder was mistaking the truck driver’s tobacco-spit cup for something refreshing, and taking a swig.
The tale of alleged instant justice had its roots earlier Monday, the report said, when the driver of a $60,000 Freightliner left it unlocked and running, with the keys in it, in the parking lot of Sears at Westfield Shoppingtown Vancouver. Inside the trailer was about $15,000 worth of merchandise.
The driver told police he went inside the store to wash grease off his hands.
When he emerged with clean hands, he saw someone making a getaway in the truck. Police soon arrived and learned from the truck’s onboard Global Positioning System that it was at Southeast 164th Avenue and Mill Plain Boulevard in Fisher’s Landing.
As officers converged on the truck Renteria-Martinez called 911 and said, through a Spanish-language translator, that he was choking and needed medical help.
Police said they found the suspect in the truck and took him into custody.
“Renteria-Martinez explained that he was driving down the road when he saw a cup. Without knowing what was in it, he took a drink and quickly learned that it was the rightful driver’s “tobacco spit,” according to the police report.
The suspect was being held on $20,000 bail in the Clark County Jail on Wednesday and is to appear in court Jan. 21.