Citizen held truck thief at gunpoint

A convicted felon with a history of grand theft auto-style behavior is facing new charges after he was held at gunpoint by a citizen who allegedly caught him trying to steal a pickup truck.

Athenian Kronus Russell, 19, has past convictions for stealing vehicles and fleeing from police in a real world version of the popular video game series that has players race stolen cars and battle law enforcement.

On Jan. 20, the citizen was driving home when he passed by a field outside Prospect where his 1987 Mazda pickup was parked. He noticed the truck's headlights were on. The citizen stopped and saw a man, later identified as Russell, standing near the truck, according to an affidavit filed by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

Russell allegedly told the citizen he was there to buy the truck. The citizen returned to his other vehicle and retrieved a pistol, the affidavit said.

"He then pointed his pistol at Athenian and told him to get on the ground. Athenian complied and laid down," the affidavit said.

The citizen called his brother for assistance, then called 911 to report he had interrupted a man stealing his truck. The brother arrived and asked the man if he had any guns, the affidavit said.

Russell allegedly admitted to having a gun in a case. A case was found on the floorboard of the Mazda truck.

A deputy took Russell into custody and he allegedly admitted he had intended to steal the truck. Russell allegedly said he found keys inside the truck, turned on the headlights and was going to leave when the citizen caught him, the affidavit said.

Russell allegedly consented to a search of the case found in the truck. A pistol was located inside the case, the affidavit said.

Following the January incident, Russell was sentenced to prison in March for other unrelated cases. He remains in prison.

On Tuesday, Russell entered not guilty pleas via teleconference to charges of unlawful use of a weapon, felon in possession of a weapon and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He has a pre-trial conference scheduled for July 10 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

He has another pending case charging him with unauthorized use of a vehicle after he was allegedly found inside a stolen Subaru, ran from police and was later found with the victim's keys.

In 2016, Russell was convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and multiple counts of recklessly endangering another person after fleeing in a vehicle that contained four passengers — two of them juveniles. He nearly ran over an Oregon State Police trooper who was attempting to deploy spike strips.

In one of the March cases, he was convicted of unauthorized use of a vehicle after he attempted a race car "drift" maneuver around a sharp corner, crashed and ran away.

Also in March, Russell was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, several counts of unauthorized use of a vehicle, first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or Follow her at

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