Police responded to Newport’s Shell gas station Monday, where a reportedly transient male allegedly stole a vehicle after drinking alcohol and doing meth to make it to a court appointment.
Newport Police officials say a woman called police Monday afternoon saying a man had stolen her car and driven north on Highway 101 while inside the store. While officers were getting information about the stolen vehicle, calls started coming in reporting a reckless driver racing through Highway 101 intersections and around traffic. Police began searching for the stolen vehicle by checking on these driving complaints and found a man matching the description of the stolen vehicle suspect running across Highway 101.
According to Newport Police, Joseph Luke Lendhardt, 38, admitted to drinking alcohol and using methamphetamine prior to stealing the vehicle, telling officers he stole it to attend a scheduled court appearance in Yamhill County. Lendhardt said he crashed the vehicle into a curb, rendering it inoperable on NE 31st Street, where a witness told police they saw Lendhardt leave the vehicle on foot running towards Highway 101, a quarter mile away.
Officers conducted a DUII investigation and arrested Lendhardt for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, theft, unlawful entry of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, reckless endangering, failure to carry a license and driving under the influence. He was transported to the Lincoln County Jail with a bail set at $150,000.
Newport Police were assisted by Oregon State Police and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and encourage the public to continue to report suspicious activity to the Newport Police Tip Line at 541-574-5455. Tips can also be texted to 541-270-1856 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Officer Bales at 541-574-3348.