Police call in man accused of stealing vehicle – because they need help restarting it

The alleged criminal used a screwdriver provided by local law enforcement to restart the vehicle
The alleged criminal used a screwdriver provided by local law enforcement to restart the vehicle - OLIVE TEAGUE

Police were forced to call in a man accused of stealing a recreational vehicle (RV) to show the owner how to restart it after it had been recovered.

Olive Teague, 27, posted a video of the alleged thief helping restart the camper van using a screwdriver provided by Washington State police.

Ms Teague said a few days ago she received a message saying the vehicle, which had been stolen last year from Seattle’s Ballard neighbourhood, had been put up for sale in Aberdeen, 100 miles to the southwest.

While its contents were missing and the interior of the vehicle was in a filthy condition, having been driven around by “squatters”, she said she was pleased to be getting it back. One problem was that the police were unable to restart it.

“Eventually, I overheard the officer say ‘You know what? I don’t want us to do more damage to the ignition by messing with it. I know a guy back at the station who definitely knows how to do this’. And so he left,” Ms Teague wrote on TikTok

“I turned around to find not another policeman teaching my friend how to jump the ignition, but the actual man who stole my vehicle.”

She added: “The responding officer went to the county jail and got the literal man who they booked for selling my rig and took him on a little field trip out to teach us how to start my RV.”

In the clip shared on Tiktok, the unnamed prisoner in an orange jumpsuit leans over by the wheel of the car and helpfully explains how to hotwire it with a tool.

“You got to get it in that little slot,” he says, wiggling the tool close to the dashboard.

“To turn it off, you come back right,” he adds. “OK, Bingo”.

“To turn it on you go up - and now up - and then forward,” the prisoner says before the car roars into life.

When they searched the van further, police found drugs and several guns.

Ms Teague, who goes by the professional name Olive the Alchemist, operates a school claimed to be a “portal to experiencing the underwater world of mermaids firsthand”.

Its website adds: “Our mission is to convene, educate, and empower merfolk of the Pacific Northwest in the water and to provide unparalleled aquatic entertainment to those from shore.”

The Aberdeen Police Department did not immediately respond to enquiries.

Ms Teague, whose friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs of restoring her van, told The Telegraph that while the incident was distressing, she did not feel she had been targeted intentionally.

“This experience has been devastating. Still, having met the man that punched out my ignition, I am ultimately reminded of the interdependence of humanity,” she said.a

“I fully know this man’s actions were not personal, but survival-driven, as many of my own actions have been since I found myself without shelter at the start of this year.”