Sprinter cameras catch nighttime thief at transit stop

The Dodge Challenger and the faux leather jacket.

Kevin Waddell reportedly has nine convictions already in San Diego County.
  • Kevin Waddell reportedly has nine convictions already in San Diego County.
  • Image by Bob Weatherston

On Friday, January 4 Jennifer parked her Dodge Challenger at a transit station in Oceanside, on El Camino Real. She was careful to park her two-door coupe directly under a surveillance camera, and then she took the Sprinter to Carlsbad, where she worked.

She didn’t get back to her car until Saturday morning, January 5, and she was crushed to see the driver’s side window on her pretty coupe smashed. And her black, faux-leather jacket which she had left on the front passenger seat was missing. There was damage around the top of the car doors, above the windows; there were dents and scratches, and metal was exposed where paint was missing.

Because she had to be somewhere, Jennifer got into her damaged car and drove away. She called Oceanside police that same morning to give them a vehicle-burglary-report, over the phone.

Just before midnight on January 4, a transit employee watching a "roving monitor" could see a suspicious man approached the vehicle. He went back and forth to the vehicle for thirteen minutes, until 12:01 a.m., one minute into January 5.

“At one point, he opens the trunk of the vehicle,” the transit worker observed. “Another time, he was inside the vehicle with a light.” The suspicious man also looked underneath the vehicle, repeatedly. The employee zoomed in and looked carefully at the man; she studied his clothing and his shoes and the bike he had with him.

That same morning, January 5, about 10 o’clock, the transit worker saw the same man — this time on the live cameras. He came back to the Sprinter station on El Camino Real, this time it looked like he was buying a ticket at the vending machine. The employee said she was sure it was the same man, “right down to the shoes.”

Oceanside police were quickly contacted.

Oceanside police officer Jay Woods said he was actually on the phone with Jennifer, taking her vehicle-burglary-report, when he was informed by someone else at the station that a suspect for the same break-in was now at the same transit station.

Cops were kept informed as they rolled to the scene, and their suspect got onto a west-bound train, so they went to the next station on the route, that was on Crouch Street.

When officers first spoke with 55-year-old Kevin Eugene Waddell, he told them the black leather jacket in the bag on his bicycle belonged to his girlfriend. Later he admitted breaking into the Dodge and stealing the jacket. And he said he used a screwdriver, probably that’s what left the marks. Officers found a hypodermic needle in his backpack, and Waddell admitted that he stole things because he “needed money for drugs."

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