A Porterville man said he was returning car keys he found to a nearby business, but police say he was returning keys from a car he stole.
It took a day to catch up to him, but now 36-year-old Abel Perez is in jail.
The case started about 11 a.m. Tuesday when Porterville police responded to a business on Olive Avenue west of Highway 165 for suspicious circumstances. Workers told officers a man had returned car keys he said he found in the street nearby, then left.
Officers were unable to find the man, but were able to determine the keys belonged to a stolen vehicle that was abandoned in the business’ parking lot.
On Wednesday, workers noticed Perez walking in the area and notified police. The workers kept an eye on him until officers arrived. They detained Perez, questioned him and determined he left the vehicle at the business and was aware the vehicle was stolen.
Perez was booked into Tulare County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle.