Stolen car returned to owner, despite being full of stolen property

SEATTLE -- A North Seattle woman says after her stolen SUV was found, her husband was sent back home with a vehicle full of other people's stolen goods.

Ellie Leonard said when her husband picked up their SUV, the Seattle police officer at the scene told him, "this is like a DUI, if I don't see somebody behind the wheel I can't charge anybody with a crime. You are responsible for everything in your car right now."

Leonard said it was full of what she believes were stolen items, such as a big screen television, tools, clothes as well as knives and drug paraphernalia.

She said there were also tax returns that included phone numbers. Leonard reached out to those people she could find and they all said they were recent victims of theft.

"We felt odd, not at ease. We felt kind of violated that we had to do all this. So we called the police again that night and said we just want to double check, this feels really weird," she said.

She said the police then told her that her husband never should have been sent home with the evidence, including receipts the thief had used to buy gas. The police came to her home and collected the items.

"At 11:30 at night we were digging things out of the city dumpster to take away for evidence," Leonard said.

Leonard said she just wants the thief or thieves off the streets.

"Our biggest fear was that they knew where we lived," she said. "We had all their things and we have little kids."

Leonard also wrote a blog post addressing the perpetrator. SPD had no comment on the case because it is ongoing. You can read her open letter to the thief here.