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Burglars target homes in Freeland

At least seven homes have been burglarized in Freeland during the past month.

From Harbor Hills to Mutiny Bay, homes that have been sitting empty have been targeted. Most homeowners only discovered the crimes after returning to Whidbey Island for a visit.

For more than 18 years, Robert Casale has owned a cabin off Harbor Hills Drive. He visited his home Dec. 31 and found it had been broken into.

“A door was kicked open and thieves went through every drawer in the house,” he said. “Vandalism did not appear to be a motive. They seemed to want small valuables.”

Casale intends to make some changes at his home.

“The door they kicked in didn’t have a deadbolt,” Casale said. “I’ve added one and am considering other security measures, as well.”

Six days later, Richard Kennedy’s daughter traveled to Freeland from Seattle to stay at their summer home at Mutiny Bay. She found that it, too, had been entered. Someone broke in through a French door on the beach side of the home.

Kennedy, who lives in Bellevue, said the family built their vacation home in the 1980s. “We’d come to the home during the summertime and on and off on weekends.”

Not much was taken, he said.

“We only had one item stolen; a pair of binoculars that we used to enjoy the scenery, the ships passing by and people on the shore. They were sitting on our mantle,” Kennedy said. “Nothing else was disturbed.”

“We were told by the police that people were stealing money, jewelry and guns,” he added.

Kennedy said he was now planning on installing an alarm system.

“We were very fortunate,” he said. “This is the first time in 27 to 28 years that this has happened.”

The Island County Sheriffís Office is investigating the crimes individually and have not officially linked the crimes together, said Undersheriff Kelly Mauck.

Even so, detectives are looking at the crimes to see if there are common threads.

“We’re looking at every one. There may be some connection with similar MOs,” Mauck said.

Historically, burglaries are hard to solve unless the thief makes a mistake, he said. That’s especially true when most of the stolen goods are taken off the island.

“It shows up on the other side of the water. The property doesn’t stay with them,” he said. “If we saw someone with stolen goods, the most we could charge them with is possession of stolen property because it is hard to prove that they stole it.”

Often times, police locate stolen property through something as benign as a traffic stop, Mauck said.

But the community helps too, he said.

“Neighbors being vigilant call us when they see suspicious behavior,” he said.

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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