Greenbank man charged in slow-speed chase

A 41-year-old Greenbank man who allegedly led a deputy on a car chase down Cultus Bay Road before escaping on foot in early January was arrested on Feb. 18 and is currently being held in the Island County Jail, according to court documents.

Prosecutors charged the suspect, Mark Hendrix, in Island County Superior Court Feb. 23 with a number of crimes including possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property in the first degree, attempting to elude arrest and driving with a revoked license. He was also charged with possession of methamphetamine in a separate case.

Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill set Hendrix’s bail at $20,000. Hendrix pleaded not guilty to the charges in court March 6.

The arrest ends a six-week search for Hendrix, who is suspected of being tied to a string of separate burglaries over the past two years. Hendrix had reportedly been on the run since he escaped into the Maxwelton Valley woods Jan. 2 after a not-so-high-speed, 60-mile-per-hour chase that transpired after a deputy approached his pickup truck near the site of a burglary. Hendrix was parked across the street from Island Storage near Ken’s Korner, where three U-Haul trucks and a car transport trailer were stolen, according to a police report from Deputy Grant Walker.

All three U-Haul trucks and the trailer were found ditched at separate locations across South Whidbey the day of the burglary, but prior to the car chase. One of the trucks was missing a rear license plate and had different graphic art on the side of the truck. Walker had identified Hendrix as a witness from video surveillance, before recognizing him in his pickup truck before the chase ensued.

During the investigation, police determined Hendrix had a storage unit at South Whidbey Self Storage in the Freeland area, according to the report by Walker. The storage facility’s manager found video footage of a U-Haul truck, with a missing rear license plate and different graphic art, visiting the facility in the early hours of the date of the burglary. He additionally noted the key code to get into the facility was a special code given to Hendrix.

It appears Hendrix wasn’t able to access the storage unit he rented, according to the report. Walker and the manager noticed damage to the lock on Hendrix’s unit, indicating someone tried to break in. The report says the manager said Hendrix asked for a new lock to be installed on his unit after he had “broken off his key in the padlock.”

Hendrix never picked up the new key, and couldn’t gain access.

Police got a warrant to search the unit after spotting boat parts that matched descriptions of stolen items from a previous burglary. Walker found a litany of other items suspected to be stolen, such as Middle Eastern antiquities, clay pots, “Arabian chalices” and antique dishware that were tied to a case from Nov. 2015. Walker reached out to the victim from that crime, and he confirmed the items belonged to him.

“Based off values indicated from the recent burglaries and my own assessment, I believe the accumulated value of the stolen items recovered from the unit exceeds $5,000,” Walker wrote in the report.

Hendrix was later arrested on Feb. 18 in the area near South Whidbey Self Storage after Deputy Tavier Wasser recognized his black Kia Soul from a previous case. Wasser followed Hendrix and pulled him over, finding the suspect hiding under clothes and blankets in the back seat. Wasser found methamphetamine and later marijuana in his pocket.

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