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Longview resident holds vehicle prowl suspect until police make arrest

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A Kalama man was arrested Nov. 29 after a Longview resident says he held the alleged vehicle prowler by gunpoint until police arrived.

The gun holder asked to remain anonymous because he said he is a retired bounty hunter for a local bail bondsman and didn’t want his location revealed.

A neighbor also used a car to prevent the suspect from leaving the 1500 block of Seventh Avenue until police arrived, said Longview Capt. Branden McNew.

The retired bounty hunter said he held Timothy Collins, 48, of Kalama, by gunpoint because a neighbor said she saw Collins prowling vehicles in the alley between Seventh and Eighth avenues on her surveillance camera. After the retired bounty hunter’s gun was drawn, a neighbor pulled into the alley and called 911, he said.

Police arrived within five minutes of the roughly 6:30 p.m. call, McNew said, and arrested Collins on suspicion of the misdemeanors of second-degree vehicle prowl, unlawful use or display of a license and failure to transfer a vehicle title, according to the county arrest log. The retired bounty hunter was not charged.

The retired bounty hunter said he feared for his safety because Collins only held one hand up as he awaited police in the dark alley. He said he has a concealed weapons permit and handed over his firearm once police arrived. He said he didn’t want him or his neighbors to be victims of theft, but also said he didn’t want to encourage vigilante justice because “this isn’t TV.”

McNew said officers found Collins entered one vehicle, tried to enter others and did not take anything. Officers also found methamphetamines and heroin on Collins and gave him a referral to drug treatment, McNew added. Under revised state law, people cannot be arrested with the misdemeanor of simple drug possession until they have received two referrals to drug treatment.

McNew said it is uncommon for citizens to hold suspects at gunpoint. He said someone who believes he is in danger could be justified in using a weapon and advised citizens to “do their own homework” on the legality of using firearms.

Collins was released without bail Nov. 30 from the Cowlitz County Jail, according to jail staff.

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