Arrest of 4 might end series of burglaries

A number of South Whidbey burglaries, including five at a Freeland church, were apparently solved last week when sheriff's deputies arrested two juveniles and two adults in connection with the crimes.

Deputies made the arrests in the early morning hours last Thursday when the four were caught in the midst of allegedly burglarizing the Bush Point Restaurant. According to Russ Lindner, chief of investigations at the Island County Sheriff's Office, the four admitted breaking into St. Augustine's Episcopal church five times over the past three weeks.

Island County Sheriffs deputies Scott Davis and Dan Todd responded to a 911 call at 1:11 a.m. from a resident living in the lower unit at Bush Point Restaurant. The caller told deputies she heard people running around in the restaurant, which is closed for the season.

When the deputies arrived at the restaurant, a white 2002 Hyundai was pulling away. Lindner said Todd stayed at the restaurant to check on the the caller while Davis pursued the fleeing car.

The car stopped a short distance away. Inside the car, according to Davis' report, was the driver, a 17-year-old Freeland boy, and a Langley boy, 15. The car is registered to the 17-year-old's mother.

The deputy reported that he took the two boys to the driver's mother's residence, where he found two men who apparently had been in the back seat of the car when he pursued it but had jumped out of the car when it pulled over.

Lindner said the two boys had a flashlight, gloves and a trash bag in the car or on their persons, all of which raised the deputy's suspicion.

Davis reported that he did not see the two men, ages 18 and 19, jump out of the car. He learned about them while questioning the two boys. When he caught up with them, Davis discovered the two men were from Oak Harbor.

Lindner said the men were living with the 17-year-old boy's mother at the time they were arrested.

"Apparently those two had been booted out of their own homes and were living with the single mother and her 17-year-old son," he said.

Linder described the four as "extremely cooperative." All four were booked and released pending further investigation. The suspects' names are being witheld until they are formally charged with a crime.

Lindner said investigators believe that there may be another person involved in the burglaries. Once leads on that possibility are investigated, the case will be turned over to the Island County Prosecutor.

Lindner said he expects the arrests will clear the books on at least a half a dozen break-ins and car prowls. Since Labor Day weekend, there have 17 reported burglaries on South Whidbey between Clinton and Greenbank.

Linder said the men and boys arrested last week do not appear to be involved in any recent commercial break-ins.

"For now," he said, "this little spree should come to a halt."

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