The owner took the young suspect into custody until Redlands Police arrived to arrest him.
The victim, a police officer for the San Manuel Indian Reservation, was on another assignment near the intersection of Orange Street and Stuart Avenue at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28.
Investigators say he spotted the teen get into the passenger side of his rented 2010 Jeep Cherokee and begin to ransack the vehicle.
While the teen was in the vehicle, the officer used his remote control device to lock the doors of the vehicle, trapping the thief.
The Redlands teen was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft and attempted auto theft with an additional gang enhancement.
Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Redlands Police at (909) 798-7681.
Anonymous tips can be provided by texting 274637 using the keyword "REDTIP."