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Laid-off Bellevue man outwits thieves by stealing getaway van

BELLEVUE, Wash. – Patrick Rosario had a clever way of making sure a pair of burglars didn’t get away with his three flat-screen TVs: He stole their van.

The 32-year-old, laid-off Washington Mutual manager was in the basement of his Bellevue home Tuesday afternoon when he heard the thieves upstairs. He called 911 as he sneaked out of the house and, against the advice of the dispatcher, hopped into the getaway car – a white Ford van that was parked in front of his house, still running – and drove away.

The burglars took off on foot, leaving a pile of televisions, a laptop and a jewelry box by the door. A witness who was visiting a home across the street saw them. According to the detectives’ report, “the males looked back … and appeared startled.”

“I wish I could have seen the look on their faces,” Rosario said.

He said he recognizes it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but it nevertheless earned him some high-fives from responding officers. “Two pulled up, and they looked over at me and go, ‘You stole their car – way to go, dude. That’s awesome,’ ” Rosario said. “Another told me that I just made her month.”

The suspects remained at large.

“We expect responsible adults to make their own decisions,” said King County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart. “Clearly, this worked in this case, but in another case it might not have.”