Clinton burglar gets sentenced to eight years in prison

Garrett Edwards

A burglar who robbed a South Whidbey couple of sentimental treasures and a sense of security was sent to prison this week.

Garrett Edwards, a 35-year-old Clinton resident, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court to trafficking in stolen property in the first degree, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of stolen property in the second degree.

The judge sentenced Edwards Monday to eight years in prison.

Edwards was accused of burglarizing a Freeland home on Feb. 28, 2014. He, and possibly others, allegedly kicked open a door and ransacked the house, stealing guns, jewelry and electronics. He was arrested after a deputy discovered that he had pawned some of the stolen items at a shop in Lynnwood, according to court documents.

His crimes inspired a bill in Olympia. The victims, Rod and Carol Mourant, knew there was a suspect and asked the Island County Sheriff’s Office for a mugshot but were denied because state law forbids the release in most circumstances.

They reached out to state Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano, who sponsored a bill to make mugshots releasable as public records. The bill didn’t pass but Hayes said he plans to try again next session.

The Mourants wrote a victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing. Rod Mourant wrote that their sense of security and calm in their homes is gone.

“It was a huge shock to me, upon returning home from a five day trip to Issaquah for medical reasons,” he wrote, “to discover our home had been violated by criminals who kicked in the basement steel door, touched everything in our house and stole our memories, our electronics and our valuables.”

Carol Mourant wrote that she most regrets losing items of sentimental value, many of which the burglars deemed had no monetary value and were likely discarded. Among the priceless sentimental items stolen was a bracelet watch that she bought for her mother in 1959; she inherited it after her mother passed away and it served as an important reminder of her mother’s love.

“As I write this, the tears are streaming down my face,” she wrote. “No amount of money can replace what the bracelet meant to me.”

Also taken was an album of old family photos, a jewelry box given to her by students when she was a teacher in the Arctic, a walrus ivory bracelet from a friend who has passed away and a string of pearls her parents gave her when she graduated from high school, Carol Mourant wrote.

The value of all the items stolen was estimated to be about $35,000, court documents indicate.