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Warming vehicle drives away

by Nick Rotunno
| November 24, 2010 8:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Sitting at home on Monday afternoon, Craig Bruce looked out the window and saw his car rolling away.

The 2005 Toyota Scion had been parked at 414 West Linden St., engine running and unlocked, warming up before Bruce went out for some errands. Now it was driving slowly down the block, sans Bruce.

He ran outside, caught the Scion and opened the driver's side door. Inside was a young man, maybe 20 years old, with a shaved head and goatee.

For someone who had just been caught red-handed, the thief was remarkably nonplussed.

"He said he was borrowing my car," recalled Bruce. "He had his hands up. He didn't seem either angry or scared when I confronted him. He didn't seem really bright either."

The man said he thought the Scion was a nice vehicle.

"I just told him, 'Get outta the car,'" Bruce said, and the man obeyed.

Sizing him up, Bruce figured he was just over six feet tall, about 165 pounds, and his eyes looked blue. Unhurried, he walked back down the block toward another parked vehicle.

Evidently, Bruce said, the man had driven his own car to Linden Avenue, and then tried to steal the Scion.

"I guess he liked it better than the other car he was driving," he said.

Tonya McClure, Bruce's roommate, saw the whole thing. As the man trudged past, she told him she had already called police and taken down his license plate number.

"And he just kind of walked nonchalantly back to the vehicle," McClure said. "He just kind of sneered at me, got in his car and drove down (Linden)."

The man turned south on Government Way and was gone. Bruce drove the Scion back home and was soon talking to Coeur d'Alene police. He said he won't leave the car unattended with the engine running again.

"I'll just be sitting in it from now on when I (warm it up)," he said.

The man who jumped into Bruce's car is still at large, according to a police report. McClure said she thought he was driving a late-model Volkswagen Jetta, but the car was snow-covered and difficult to identify.

He was wearing a red basketball jersey under a jacket, jeans and boots, police said.

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