"Surpise visitors bail set at $500,000"
June 25, 2008 · Updated 11:15 AM
"Art and Phyllis Pratt were not expecting visitors when they returned home from a day of church attendance and holiday shopping.On Dec. 19 the Pratts found their Possession Point home had been turned into a makeshift bed and breakfast by a man later identified by authorities as Darren Lawrence Gallagher, 31, of East Wenatchee and also the Everett area.The Pratts, caretakers for the Port of South Whidbeys Possession Beach Waterfront Park, arrived at their home at 7:45 p.m. that Sunday. From outside the house, they watched as the bathroom light turned on and then off again. We thought that maybe the kids had come home early for Christmas, or it was friends that had stopped by, Phyllis Pratt said.According to the Island County Sheriffs Office, Art Pratt entered the house and found Gallagher walking upstairs from the basement. He asked the man what he was doing, but the suspect just mumbled and tried to leave. Phyllis Pratt motioned to her husband that she was going to call 911 from a cell phone.My husband stalled him for about 15 minutes so the cops would have time to come, Mrs. Pratt said. During that time, according to the sheriffs report, Gallagher tried to avoid all questions and claimed that he was not stealing anything. He also claimed the house was his grandmothers.We were both extremely calm the whole time, Phyllis Pratt said. We are still calm. We were just wondering what he was doing.According to the Pratts, the man had not been in the house long. Gallagher claimed he had just walked in the door. A sheriffs deputy later found Gallagher had entered the home through an open window after removing the screen.After entering, Gallagher apparently made chili on the stove, took a shower, drank some soda and slept in the Pratts bed.He said that he came from the water, Phyllis Pratt said. He had put all of his wet clothes under the bed and was wearing my husbands clothes. The suspect had also taken a tent and a duffel bag, which he filled with food from the freezers in the garage.I guess he was going to camp out and enjoy our food, she said.Gallagher then left the house and walked up the driveway where Langley Police Department officers were waiting for him. Gallagher reportedly identified himself as Fred and also Frederick W. Jones. He then informed officers he was off his medication for mental illness. After Art Pratt positively identified the suspect, an officer arrested Gallagher for residential burglary.Gallagher is currently being held on $500,000 bail in the Island County Jail. According to Sheriffs Office spokesperson Jan Smith, the bail was set at a higher amount than is customary for burglary because Gallagher did not properly identify himself. He was also charged for false identification and failure to cooperate. Gallagher is scheduled to have a hearing in front of an Island County Superior Court judge on Dec. 30 for possible bail reduction. The sheriffs report confirm the Gallagher has a criminal history, and has two outstanding warrants for drunk driving and lewd conduct with possible possession of drug paraphernalia. Art Pratt said the Port of South Whidbey will install a security system to ward off any more potential intruders. He said this is a good thing to do, especially since the coming spring and summer season will bring increased traffic to the area.However, the Pratts are not worried about another break-in. It could have been terrible; he could have had a gun, Phyllis Pratt said. Were not too concerned."