Bay Area man claims he was kidnapped while driving stolen car, police say

Bay Area

TIBURON, Calif. (BCN) — Tiburon police say a man who claimed to be a kidnap victim was arrested Tuesday in Riverside County on suspicion of stealing a vehicle in Tiburon.

The incident began at 2:35 p.m. Monday, when a crossing guard flagged down a Tiburon police officer to report his vehicle had been stolen. The victim told police that he had lent his vehicle to Mitchel Powell, who failed to appear later with the vehicle as had been arranged.

As the victim’s mobile phone was in the vehicle, the victim had no way to contact Powell. Attempts to reach Powell using the officer’s phone were unsuccessful.

However, text messages sent from the victim’s phone to the officer’s phone suggested that Powell may have been kidnapped and was unable to return the vehicle.

Tiburon police put out a be-on-the-lookout bulletin to other law enforcement agencies.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, an alert officer from the Indio office in of the California Highway Patrol saw the vehicle traveling in Riverside County on Interstate 10 between Banning and Indio The officer initiated a traffic stop and found Powell alone in the vehicle.

The CHP arrested Powell without incident and booked him into Riverside County Jail. A subsequent investigation found no evidence of a kidnapping.

Tiburon police have offered assistance to the victim to recover his vehicle.

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