Driver’s stolen car runs out of gas, so she asks cop for help, California police say

A California police officer went above and beyond to help a stranded driver this week — until he realized her car wasn’t hers at all, according to authorities.

Lynette Stewart, 37, flagged down an officer with the Lincoln Police Department around 11 p.m. on Thursday, telling him that her gas tank hit empty in the city and she “now needed help finding the vehicle” again, police said in a Facebook post Friday.

The officer — who remembered seeing the kind of car she described six blocks away — gave Stewart and her gas can a lift to the vehicle, according to police.

But then the officer checked the vehicle’s status and realized the car had been reported stolen just one day earlier in Cameron Park, police said.

Stewart, a resident of Cameron Park, was arrested and booked at the South Placer Jail on vehicle theft and methamphetamine possession charges, police said.

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She remained in custody Friday on $25,000 bail, according to online jail records.

The Facebook post about her arrest has been shared hundreds of times in less than 12 hours.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.