Van, witnesses key to solving area burglaries

Three separate South Whidbey burglaries that took place Feb. 4 have been linked.

Russ Lindner, chief criminal deputy for the Island County Sheriff's Office, said three men burglarized island businesses and homes last week in a 1994 white Ford Econoline van. The van, owned by a Bellevue resident, was reported stolen in Snohomish County.

Lindner said Mark Myres, a Whidbey contractor, followed the van after its occupants burglarized his Bob Galbreath Road construction site. Myres followed the van for about six minutes before losing sight of it.

The sheriff's Citizens Patrol later found the van abandoned on Four Sisters Lane, Clinton. In it deputies found items from two other burglaries.

Ace Hardware in Freeland reported several items were stolen from their loading dock sometime from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, Lindner said. He said some expensive mechanical gardening equipment was recovered from the van.

Also recovered were items from a Wilkinson Road house. Lindner said a woman came home around 4 p.m. Feb. 4 to find her house burglarized and a stereo system missing along with a pillowcase filled with several small items.

Investigators found fingerprints in the van and sent them to the state crime lab for analysis.

"We're hoping fingerprint evidence will give us some leads," Lindner said.

Anyone who saw the van on Feb. 4 should call detectives Mike Birchfied or Mark Plumberg at 321-5111.

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