Woman accused of stealing, hiding handgun

A 46-year-old South Whidbey woman was arrested for allegedly stealing a gun after witnesses followed her in a car, according to court documents.

A Freeland man called 911 on Feb. 15 to report that a woman was seen walking into his garage, taking a .45 caliber handgun from a cabinet and walking away with it, according to a report by a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

The caller said a witness was following the suspect, later identified as Monica Rutledge, in a car.

The deputy arrived at the house and was waved down by a group of bystanders who said the woman was walking toward Mutiny Bay with the car following her.

The deputy found the unusual procession on Robinson Road. The driver of the car jumped out and pointed at Rutledge, who was wearing a black hat and black coat.

The deputy unholstered his gun and ordered Rutledge, who he thought was armed, to let him see her hands. She refused and he ordered her a second time, but she kept walking away, the deputy’s report states.

Finally, the deputy said he would shoot Rutledge if she didn’t show her hands to him and she finally complied.

Finding that the woman didn’t have a gun, the deputy questioned her about where it was and she said she had thrown it into bushes.

Because of the danger to the public — especially since children were in the area — the deputy asked Rutledge to show him where she had thrown it.

She pointed to some bushes and asked to be uncuffed to look for it, but the deputy refused because she hadn’t been fully searched.

After an unsuccessful hunt for the guns, the deputy searched Rutledge, felt something under her bra and discovered the loaded gun, the report states.

She told the deputy she intended to throw the gun into the woods if the deputy had uncuffed her.

He also found a razor knife in her pocket and a package with suspected heroin on her, the deputy wrote. He arrested her on suspicion of multiple charges.

In Island County Superior Court Feb. 18, the judge set her bail at $25,000.

Prosecutors charged Rutledge Feb. 20 with burglary in the first degree, theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree.

If convicted of the charges, Rutledge could face as much as 10 years in prison under the standard sentencing range.

A criminal history can increase the sentence range.

Court documents state she had previously been convicted in King County Superior Court of residential burglary.

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