Friday, February 20, 2004

Streakers left out in the cold

SPOKANE, Washington (Court TV) -- A car thief left a trio of streakers in Washington state out in the cold.

Three men who made a racy run through a Denny's restaurant earlier this month were themselves the victims of a keen-eyed customer who apparently made off with the naked men's car -- as well as the clothes they left inside.

The car was later recovered and the streakers do not face criminal charges, police said. But the car thief remains at large.

The three men reportedly stripped down to nothing but their shoes and hats in 20-degree weather on January 14 and proceeded to streak through a warm Denny's restaurant in Spokane.

In hopes of making a quick getaway, one of the pranksters left his blue 1988 Mazda running outside. According to police, another customer in the restaurant noticed the waiting car and drove off with it.

The streakers watched in horror as the car drove away, according to police. They gave chase but were unable to catch up and were forced to huddle nude behind a car in an adjacent parking lot until police arrived.

Several days later the owner of the car recovered his vehicle in a parking lot several miles from the Denny's, according to Spokane police spokesman Dick Cottam.

Authorities believe that car thief drove the vehicle a short distance and abandoned it, but that a second person may have stolen the car again, Cottam said.

The locks were broken and the ignition and radio were ripped out. The original thief would not have had to break into the car because it was left unlocked and running by its streaking owner, Cottam said.

The streakers could have faced charges of indecent exposure or lewd conduct but have not been charged because officers did not witness the incident, and nobody at the restaurant chose to make a complaint, Cottam said.

"They have had sufficient punishment," Cottam said.

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