Police say things could have ended very differently after a man followed his stolen SUV into a restaurant parking lot and held suspects at gunpoint until police arrived.

A Snohomish couple was out driving on Sunday afternoon to look for their Land Rover SUV, which had been stolen a few days before.

“They looked like the nicest couple in the world,” said James Paulsen, who arrived at the McDonald’s on 79th Street Southeast and Evergreen Way after police arrived. “They looked very calm, considering what had just happened.”

The couple spotted their SUV in Central Everett and then followed it into the restaurant parking lot and boxed in the SUV. As the wife called 911, her husband got out of the car and used a handgun to detain the three or four people inside the SUV, according to Everett Police.

“So it was a pretty aggressive move. I can totally understand the frustration people have when their property gets stolen, but that's not something we recommend: jumping out, having a handgun to recover your property,” Officer Aaron Snell said.

Police showed up soon after, but he says this case could have gone downhill quickly.

“There's potentially laws that were broken. Potentially brandishing a weapon inside city limits, it could escalate all the way up to assault. It depends on what's said, how the weapon was used, what was implied – it's really a gray area,” Snell said.

As for whether charges could be filed, that will depend on whether the suspected car thief makes a complaint in this case.

The husband – the victim, in this case – did not fire the gun even after the suspected car thief ran away to a nearby softball field at Cascade Hill School and removed his hat and shirt in an attempt to blend in with people playing softball, according to Everett Police.

Police arrested him and booked him into Snohomish County Jail. The suspect also had two outstanding warrants for theft and possession of stolen property.

“It had a good ending,” Snell said. “It could have been not so good though.”

Everett police are still determining the involvement of the other people found in the SUV.