Man arrested driving stolen car: I got it from a drug dealer friend

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ST. CROIX - Police have arrested a 46-year-old man and recovered the stolen minivan he was driving Monday afternoon.

Stephen Coleman, of no fixed address was arrested just before 7 p.m. Monday and was advised of his rights Tuesday morning on the charges of possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle and operating a vehicle without a valid driver's license.

According to the affidavit filed by Police Officer Rolando Huertas, a couple reported their 2002 silver Honda Odyssey minivan was stolen last Thursday.

Just before 4 p.m. Monday, police received information that the car was seen near a beachfront restaurant and bar in the La Grande Princesse area.

Huertas said when he and his partner responded to the area they did not see the vehicle and decided to patrol the area in hopes of finding it.

Spotting the van parked in a lot just north of Five Corners intersection, the officers parked where they would be able to see the van, but at what they thought was a safe distance for surveillance.

Huertas said they waited just over an hour before they saw a man - now identified as Coleman - walking from the intersection, toward the parked vehicle. He said Coleman got inside and drove away. When the car turned to go into an condominium complex about a mile away, Huertas activated his lights and sirens and Coleman complied.

According to the police report, Coleman told police that the van belonged to his friend who is a drug dealer, but that his friend had given it to him two weeks before.

Knowing the car had only been reported stolen for five days, Huertas said he transported Coleman to the police station where he was advised of his rights and a written statement was taken. At that time, he admitted to police that he knew the vehicle did not belong to his friend and that it was stolen.

He was arrested and bail was set at $10,000.

A motion for his release will be set at a later date.

According to court documents, at the time of the incident, Coleman was out on bail with charges in a domestic violence assault case were pending.

In July, a woman wrapped only in a bed sheet, ran from her home and told police that Coleman choked her and threatened to kill her and any officers who would come to help her.

In that incident, he was charged with second-degree assault and disturbance of the peace by threats.

The woman told police that Coleman hit and choked her as they were arguing and being very afraid, she decided to go to sleep hoping Coleman would calm down.

Around 4 a.m., she snuck out of the home and ran about a half mile to an apartment in Carib Villas to get help.

Coleman remains jailed at Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility unable to post bail.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email

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