A stolen vehicle has been returned and a woman is behind bars, thanks to the efforts of an off-duty Huntsville police officer.

According to Capt. Trevor Harris with Athens Police Department, a vehicle was parked at Town Center around 11:45 a.m. Thursday. The owner discovered it was missing about an hour later and feared it was stolen after accidentally leaving the keys in the unlocked car.

“Officers responded and started a police report,” Harris said. “Once they obtained the vehicle registration, they started the process to enter the car's description into the nationwide database.”

Before the report was done being processed, Harris said, an off-duty officer with Huntsville Police Department happened to notice a “suspicious” vehicle sitting in a dealership parking lot in the city. An on-duty officer was then called to assist.

“When the two officers approached, they found 29 year-old Chelsea Lynn Wise with the vehicle,” Harris said. “During their investigation, Wise admitted the vehicle was stolen from Athens. The two officers were able to detain her and recover the stolen vehicle before Athens PD could get the stolen car entered into the NCIC database.”

Chelsea Lynn Wise

Wise

Harris said the victim was able to recover her car from Huntsville, and Wise was taken into custody by APD. Online records show she was booked into the Limestone County Detention Center at 3:47 p.m. and charged with first-degree theft, a felony. She remained Friday in the LCDC with bond set at $5,000.

“Athens Police Department is grateful for the outstanding police work performed by the Huntsville Police Department (Thursday),” Harris said. “The perceptiveness of an off-duty officer led to the quick resolution of this crime and returned a stolen vehicle to its rightful owner in a matter of hours.”

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