After a short foot chase early Friday morning, Kelso police arrested two Longview men suspected of car theft and vehicle prowling, among other crimes.
A homeowner on the 1100 block of Wood Avenue in Kelso called police around 5:40 a.m. to report a suspected vehicle prowl by two men who had parked a Kia Crossover in the road, exited the car and got into a black Mercedes parked on the block, according to the police report.
Another witness said the men drove the Mercedes a short distance along the street before parking it and getting out again to “dig around” in the vehicle.
When officers arrived on scene, Brian Eck, 21, and Paul Johnson, 22, were near the Mercedes. One man was under the hood of the car in the engine compartment, attempting to remove the battery from the vehicle, and the other was leaning on the passenger side of the car, the report says. They attempted to run away when they the heard police approaching, the report says.
According to the report, one officer cut off Johnson, but he resisted arrest and refused to follow the officers’ orders to get on the ground, and after a short struggle, the officer “tripped” Johnson, forcing him to the ground. Johnson then allowed the officer to handcuff him, the report says.
Police found a “drug-smoking device” laced with heroin on Johnson after searching him, the report says.
Meanwhile, Eck jumped a fence and ran east. He was stopped shortly after by another group of officers who said he also resisted arrest. Additional details were not available Saturday.
Upon searching the Kia Crossover, police found several grams of heroin and methamphetamine in the center console, the report says. A records check of the vehicle showed it was reported stolen from Portland, and officers notified the registered owner that it had been found.
Police were unable to identify the owner of the Mercedes. However, it was not registered to either Eck or Johnson, and a resident along Wood Avenue said it belonged to one of the neighborhood homeowners.
Eck and Johnson were both arrested on suspicion of second-degree vehicle prowling, third-degree attempted theft, resisting arrest, obstructing a public service and possession of methamphetamine and heroin. Eck was also arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, while Johnson is suspected of second-degree taking a vehicle without permission.
Both men were booked in the Cowlitz County jail Friday.