February 15th, 2021 at 4:50 pm Newport Police Officers were dispatched to the Shell gas station on the report of a stolen vehicle. The victim reported a transient male subject had taken her parked vehicle and had driven off heading north on Hwy 101. At the same time, Officers began receiving multiple reports of a reckless driver on Hwy 101, which matched the stolen vehicle, racing through and around traffic and intersections.
Officers began checking the area of these driving complaints for the stolen vehicle and the suspect. In the area of Hwy 101 and NE 31st Street, Officers found a subject running across the Hwy 101 that matched the description as reported and detained the subject. He was identified as Joseph Luke Lenhardt. When questioned, Lenhardt admitted to stealing the vehicle and running into a curb, which disabled the vehicle. He admitted to driving the vehicle while it was damaged through traffic. He abandoned the vehicle about quarter of a mile off Hwy 101 on NE 31st Street.
A witness saw Lenhardt leave the vehicle and take off on foot. Lenhardt admitted to drinking and using methamphetamine just prior to stealing the vehicle and advised Officers he had stolen the vehicle in order to attend his scheduled court appearance in Yamhill County, Oregon. Officers conducted a DUII investigation as well and Lenhardt was arrested.
Lenhardt was transported to the Lincoln County Jail and lodged the following charges; Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Theft 1, Unlawful Entry into a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Fail to Carry/ Present License and Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants.
The Newport Police Department was assisted by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Oregon State Police and wants to thank them for their help. The Newport Police Department wants to remind our citizens to continue to report suspicious activities. The Newport Police Tip Line is available at 541-574-5455, or Text-a-Tip at 541-270-1856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any information regarding this case, contact Officer Bales of the Newport Police Department at 541-574-3348.