King County Sheriff’s Deputies have caught a 49-year-old male suspected of “terrorizing homeowners” in the Issaquah area by breaking into their outbuildings and garages. They had been actively searching for the suspect since August 2018.
The suspect is wanted on multiple counts of theft, burglary and trespassing charges. Bulletins had been posted on social media sites, including on the Nextdoor website. Video footage caught the man. His description was shared among neighbors.
Undercover detectives for several weeks tried to locate him. But the large area of woods, where detectives suspect the man lived, made it almost impossible to find him, said Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the sheriff’s office.
“We got a little help from the snow and footprints that led into the woods,” Abbott said.
On the morning of Feb. 11, a witness reported to emergency dispatchers that they had spotted the suspect traveling east on Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road, south of Duthie Hill Park. They knew him from the online social media postings.
When deputies responded, the suspect was out of sight, having likely disappeared into the wooded area. Deputies located a set of bootprints leading toward the woods in the 26400 block of Southeast Issaquah Fall City Road.
Those bootprints were the only visible set in the area — woods on the eastern edge of the King County Grand Ridge Park, a 1,300-acre forest that extends to the Issaquah Highlands. K-9 Deputy Didway and his police-dog partner Ranger tracked the prints about 2.5 miles from the road to a campsite, comprised of a makeshift tarp shelter in the trees.
The man was crouched near a small campfire, the sheriff’s office said, and arrested without incident. He was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of burglary-and-theft charges.
The next day, county search and rescue helped detectives undo the camp site, removing crates of suspected stolen property equaling about two truckloads of items. The items are clothing, shoes, ropes, tarps — possessions being used by the suspect, Abbott said. Deputies also found a ziplock bag full of multiple tubes of antifungal cream.
The items can be viewed online at http://s1113.photobucket.com/user/kcsophotos/library/Found%20Property. Items have been tossed because of mildew, but any owners of the pictured objects are asked to contact the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311.