MLT police hope arrest of 15-year-old boy will stop recent wave of home burglaries

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By Doug Petrowski

Mountlake Terrace police hope the arrest of a 15-year-old Mountlake Terrace resident will begin to stem the tide of recent home burglaries throughout the city.

The juvenile male was arrested on May 3 after police responded to a residential alarm near Cedar Way in Mountlake Terrace. The suspected was observed in the area by police and arrested after matching descriptions given by witnesses. He was released on $1500 bail on May 7 and instructed by Snohomish County Juvenile Superior Court Judge Ellen Fair to stay under house arrest with the exception of attending school classes. No arraignment hearing for the suspect has been scheduled as of yet.

Police Chief Greg Wilson credits the arrest “to just good police work.” Police reports explain that the officer saw the suspect while enroute to the scene. The juvenile had been seen on surveillance tape taken earlier in the day at Rogers’ Market, 23120-56th Ave. W., with a backpack that matched one found near the burglary. Items with his name on them were found in the backpack, along with items stolen in the burglary. The suspect also was identified by a witness of another burglary a week prior in the area.

A second suspect fled on foot. The police department K-9 unit followed a hot trail to a neighboring apartment complex parking lot, but the trail ended there. Police believe the suspect may have had a car waiting for him.

Police report that many home burglaries in Mountlake Terrace seem connected. They have happened during daytime hours, with suspects observed walking down residential streets looking for homes that are unoccupied, even knocking on front doors to see if anyone answers. If no one is home, the suspects will enter through a back door or window. Items stolen in recent burglaries include laptop computers, iPods and video gaming systems.

Cedar Way Elementary School, 22222-39th Ave. W., was placed on lockdown for a short time on April 30 due to a home burglary close by.

Home burglaries in Mountlake Terrace are on pace to total more than 150 this year. “We will surpass the 2011 burglary total,” said Commander Doug Hansen. There were 135 reported burglaries in the city in 2011, 114 in 2010, and just 99 in 2009. “Two or three people can screw up your statistics,” Commander Hansen added.

Mountlake Terrace Police Department detectives regularly meet with detectives from neighboring jurisdictions and exchange information on active cases, Hansen said. There has been an increase in home burglaries throughout the area, especially in Seattle and north King County.

The Mountlake Terrace Police Department is scheduled to report to the City Council on Thursday, May 17, and will likely release crime statistics for the first three months of 2012 at that meeting.

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