Break-ins lead to chase

A burglary suspect remained at large Friday, after a break-in spree and high-speed chase through Winslow Tuesday afternoon.

Police believe the suspect, described only as a woman with dark brown hair and a dark jacket, left the island after eluding police, and it was unclear whether others were involved.

“With something like this, there’s usually more than one person running the game,” Bainbridge Police Lt. Chris Jensen said.

The incident began shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday, as officers were investigating a burglary at an Olympic Terrace home. Residents in the Pleasant Beach area reported another burglary in progress there, with the suspect driving off in a large white car.

The vehicle was spotted by patrol officers at Wyatt Way and Finch Road, and a brief chase ensued. The driver passed other vehicles at high speed on Wyatt Way, nearly ramming an oncoming police car.

Police said the driver ran stop signs and turned north on Madison Avenue, hitting speeds of 60 mph, then went east on High School Road.

Officers avoided a high-speed pursuit and followed at some distance, citing the danger to other drivers.

The suspect driver turned south on the highway, and the vehicle was found abandoned a short time later on Tiffany Meadows in the Wing Point area.

A K9 unit tracked the driver through the neighborhood, but lost the scent in the ferry terminal area.

Police said the vehicle, a 1996 Cadillac, was recovered with stolen property – a bowl full of loose change, reportedly taken from the Olympic Terrace home – inside.

The car itself had been reported stolen five days earlier, taken from the Erland’s Point neighborhood in Central Kitsap after a residential break-in there.

Jensen said Friday that police are pursuing a variety of leads, and that the incident may be tied to at least 10 residential burglaries this month – five reported around the island on Tuesday alone.

The MO: Burglars enter a home through a back door or window, usually doing little damage to the structure; they rifle through drawers and cabinets, but rarely disturb the contents.

Televisions and electronic equipment are left untouched, Jensen said, in favor of items like cash and jewelry that can be easily pocketed. The suspects avoid unique or heirloom-type pieces, in favor of more “generic” jewelry less likely to be easily identified.

The thefts are almost always during daylight hours.

“We call these ‘commuter burgs,’” Jensen said. “People come home and find stuff missing.”

Total loss in the January burglary spree is estimated at nearly $60,000, police said, and the incidents may be tied to a recent spate of check forgeries.

Islanders have also been targeted in a recent door-to-door magazine sales scam, while a year-long burglary spree at area construction sites remains unsolved.

Jensen said residents and neighbors should be wary of unusual activity around their homes, and report any suspicious persons or vehicles to police.

“In this day and age, we are beyond the time when you can leave your house unlocked,” he said. “It’s a point we never wanted to reach here, but it’s come.”

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