San Juan Island man faces assault and car theft charges

Days after being released from jail on assault charges, a local man was picked up for allegedly stealing a car and entering another without permission.

On May 11, James Allen Batchelder II, 43, of Friday Harbor, was charged with the felony of assault in the third degree, as well as the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. There was no bail imposed on these charges.

On May 15, he was charged with the felony of taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree, as well as the gross misdemeanor of vehicle prowling in the second degree.

At his May 18 arraignment, Batchelder pleaded not guilty to all charges and is currently in custody on a $5,000 bail. His next court date is June 22, and each felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.

According to court documents, on May 8, a caller requested San Juan County deputies check on a man who was “hitting an SUV with his shoe, drunk and yelling in the alley behind Haley’s.”

When a deputy stepped out of his vehicle to approach this man, the deputy reported that “Batchelder walked briskly towards me and, using both hands, forcefully shoved the driver’s door onto my left leg, striking my knee and causing temporary pain.”

On May 13, a man reported that his vehicle was moved from Argyle Avenue to the Sandpiper Apartments on Tucker Avenue. The car owner told deputies he left the vehicle unlocked, with the keys in the center console. When the deputy investigated the car on Tucker Avenue, he found court documents with Batchelder’s name on them, keys on the passenger seat, a black sweatshirt, a black jacket and boots. The deputy recalled seeing those clothes on Batchelder during an earlier interaction. A witness also allegedly saw Batchelder in the driver’s seat of the car and had a Facebook photo to back up the claim.

On May 14, a woman reported that a man was in the driver’s side of her vehicle, which she had left unlocked. She said items from her glove compartment were on the seat and items from the pocket on the driver’s side were allegedly missing.

Batchelder’s criminal record includes driving under the influence and residential burglary.