Last Tuesday, a King County detective arrested an island teenager who is currently under investigation for committing a string of burglaries on Vashon.
In all, four juveniles have been charged with residential burglary after an incident in early February. But one of the boys is suspected of committing several more burglaries in the ensuing days, including a vehicular theft that resulted in a high-speed early morning rollover crash on the north end.
In every case being prosecuted, there has been one commonality: Nobody’s doors were locked, according to Sgt. Ryan Abbott, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, who said islanders should take more precautions.
“The reason we’re having this problem, all this crime, is because the word is out with other juveniles that nobody locks up,” he said.
According to county juvenile division court documents, the teen connected to several of the burglaries was first identified in home security footage after an islander reported to police that his home on Gorsuch Road was broken into during the region’s severe winter weather on Feb. 9. Four teenage boys entered the homeowner’s residence while he was out for a short time; when he returned, he found them fleeing to the home of a neighbor, who later provided their names to a deputy.
The homeowner told the detective conducting the investigation that he initially confronted the boys at the neighbor’s house after following their tracks in the snow. He then called to report the break-in, but the authorities told him to make an official report after the weather improved. In the meantime, he assessed his property and showed the security footage to neighbors to see if anyone recognized the boys, again reporting the burglary days later, on Feb. 13.
One week later, the driver of a stolen car lost control and crashed on the island’s north end. In that incident, on Feb. 20, a caller to 911 reported a motor vehicle accident near Vashon Highway and SW 148th Street. When authorities responded to the scene, they initially found a newer model Mazda resting on the passenger side at the bottom of an embankment after colliding with a telephone pole and several trees, according to Abbott.
Island fire crews were dispatched for a minor, unknown type fire reported at the location. Chief Charlie Krimmert said firefighters exhausted a fire extinguisher on the scene as a precaution.
The teen who was behind the wheel originally gave a fake name to the responding deputies and admitted to having stolen the car. He managed to free himself from the wreck, and the caller who reported the crash allowed the teen into their home to wait for help. He was taken to a hospital off-island by aid car to treat his injuries, cited for driving without a license, and later arrested.
In a subsequent interview with the teen, who was suspected of involvement in the Gorsuch Road incident, the detective was able to confirm that all of the boys identified by the neighbor had entered the home to steal marijuana. The teen claimed the homeowner has sold marijuana to him in the past and that he is also known to sell to minors. The teen further confirmed the names of the other boys involved in that burglary. They will have an arraignment next Friday, April 5.
In addition, the teen told the detective that he entered the home from where he had stolen the car through the back door, stealing several items and money from a purse before taking the vehicle. He said the car was unlocked and the key was inside, and that he swerved out of the way of a wandering deer in the road before losing control. He was charged and arraigned on Monday for this incident.
Court documents state that after the detective returned from interviewing the teen in the hospital, he learned he had been assigned another suspected burglary case on Ridge Road — the teen was again named as a suspect.
The detective contacted the teen and his parents to ask for a follow-up interview, which they all consented to. In their conversation, the detective learned that the teen had climbed through an open window of the home where an ex-girlfriend lived because he was cold after sledding with friends. The homeowners were on vacation at the time.
The teen let his group of friends into the house and they proceeded to drink the family’s liquor; he told the detective that he woke up sometime later at a friend’s house wearing jewelry stolen from the home. In a meeting with the homeowners, the detective brought a collection of jewelry and watches found in the teen’s possession at the hospital; the detective believed the items had been taken from their home, but they said none of it belonged to them.
The teen was charged with another count of residential burglary and will be arraigned once again in juvenile court next Wednesday, April 3.