Police in Auburn, Washington have arrested a gunman who earlier this year allegedly stole a Ford Escape from a Hendersonville auto dealer.
On February 25, police said Charles Norton walked into Freedom Automotive Group asked a salesman to take him on a test drive.
After the pair left the lot, Norton allegedly took out a gun and forced the salesman to drive to a secluded road where he was told to get out of the vehicle.
Police credit an ex-girlfriend of Norton's for helping police locate him.
Tia Fleitz told Nashville's News 2 by phone from Glasgow, Kentucky Tuesday that Norton, a former boyfriend, told her he was going to buy her a new car in Nashville.
He allegedly carjacked the salesman and drove the car back to Glasgow and presented it as a gift.
Two weeks later, Fleitz says Norton stole the car again, along with nearly everything in her house.
After reporting the burglary to police she started looking for Norton online.
“His name is Charles Norton but I never knew him as that name. I only knew him as Devin O'Neal because that's what he told me. I knew both names that he used and all of his aliases, and I literally sat on the computer one day and searched for him,” she said.
Fleitz continued, “I must have found six or seven profiles of his on different Web sites but there was only one that he was using and I would watch it every single day.”
Recently, Norton changed his status to living in Auburn, Washington and Fleitz reported it to Hendersonville police.
“We in turn sent that information to the Auburn Police Department in Auburn, Washington,” Hendersonville Det. Sgt. Jim Vaughn said. “They were able to set up a sting where they were able to lure Mr. Norton in and they were able to capture him.”
To find him, Auburn police set up a fake account on the social media network, posing as a woman.
Police officers invited Norton to meet them Sunday afternoon and when he showed up, they arrested him.
In addition to his original warrants of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery, Norton faces fugitive from justice and possession of stolen property charges.
He was also wanted in Sumner County and in Kentucky for the burglary of Fleitz's home.
At the time of his arrest, police said he still had the vehicle he stole from Freedom Automotive.
“He was in the vehicle he took from Freedom Automotive so we are going to be able to recover the vehicle as well as bring Mr. Norton to justice,” Sgt. Vaughn said.
Fleitz said it was well worth the effort searching for Norton to find him..
“I wanted so badly to do anything I could do because I had this constant thought in my head that if I can help get him captured, another woman wouldn't have to go through what I went through,” she said.
- March 20, 2012: Hendersonville police ID armed carjacking suspect
- March 5, 2012: Armed carjacking suspect remains at large
- Feb. 29, 2012: Salesman carjacked by man says he feared for his life
- Feb. 25, 2012: Hendersonville car salesman carjacked during test drive