An Anchorage traffic stop last weekend ended with the driver’s arrest, after police say the sedan’s owner showed up to say it was stolen.

Court records show Kristopher Lucas Tupua, 21, charged with vehicle theft and violating conditions of his release in two previous cases during the Sunday incident.

According to a charging document against him, Tupua was driving a Toyota Corolla at about noon Sunday when an APD officer saw that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. When the officer pulled the Corolla over, Tupua said he was driving the vehicle to its owner, a man whose name APD couldn’t find in Alaska records searches.

Police learned that the car was actually registered to a woman. While the officer began to write a citation for the seat-belt violation, Tupua got out and put on a backpack as if to leave – before he “was ordered back into the vehicle.”

“Just then, [the registered owner] came running up to the scene screaming that the Corolla Tupua was driving had just been stolen from her,” prosecutors wrote. “She was able to track her iPhone (which was in the car when it was taken), to the scene. Officers found [the owner’s] pink iPhone inside the backpack Tupua was carrying.”

According to police, Tupua said he had been told to drive the car from 12th Avenue and Cordova Street to Mountain View.

“When asked about the pink cellphone, Tupua said he put it in his backpack to use it,” prosecutors wrote.

Tupua has a pair of open theft cases against him in Anchorage court, both of which he has been on release for. A judge approved his February release in one case, according to court records, and Tupua posted $1,500 bail for the other with help from a bail bondsman in March.

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