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Transient found living in boat stored in Bainbridge garage

Police found a transient man living in a boat stored in a garage near Madison Avenue Sunday afternoon.

Officers arrested the 47-year-old man and booked him into Kitsap County Jail on potential charges of burglary, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to police documents, an employee at San Carlos Restaurant called 911 after seeing the man throw his bag inside the garage window, look around, then enter through the same window.

The detached garage sits behind a law office on Madison Avenue.

When officers arrived at the garage around 4:30 p.m. March 16, the man was still inside.

Police announced their arrival and called for anyone inside the garage to come out. No one answered.

Officers then lifted the door and entered the garage with their firearms drawn. Two boats were inside. One, a small craft, was uncovered and no one was inside. The other was slightly larger and was covered with a snap-type tarp.

One officer walked toward the back of the garage and, using a flashlight, saw that there was someone inside the covered boat.

Police again called for the person to come out and show his hands. According to police documents, the transient eventually stood up, but became verbally antagonistic. He sat down and put his hands inside the boat and out of view several times.

When he sat down, his hands went to his right hip area and down into the boat. Officers believed that the man might be attempting to arm himself.

After several such moments, Officer Mo Stich was instructed to use her taser on the man.

The taser didn't appear to fully stun the man, as he continued to move and talk. After he was hit with the Taser a second time, he complied with officers, climbed out of the boat and laid face down on the ground.

According to police, after receiving his Miranda warning, the man allegedly said, "So I am under arrest for sleeping in a boat? The man who owns it gave me his blessing."

The transient continued to tell police that about a year ago he had received permission to stay in the boat.

Officers contacted the owner of the garage and the two boats. He told police he had not authorized anyone to be inside or stay inside his garage.

A similar incident involving a transient in his garage had occurred about a year ago, the boat owner told police, and it is possible it was the same man.

After taking the transient into custody, police found in his possession drug paraphernalia including used and unused hypodermic needles, alcohol prep swabs, a rubber tie-off and an Altoids tin with apparent narcotic residue inside.

Police searched the boat and the area above it and found blankets, a sleeping bag, clothing, food, and a sock full of coffee beans.

Upon further investigation, officers also found a pawn slip and evidence that the man had pawned at least four Dell laptops and a snowboard since May 20.

Police found a Washington identification card on the transient that contained a Bellingham address. The transient told police, however, that he no longer lived at that address.

He was booked at Kitsap County Jail and is being held on a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing. His bail was set at $5,000.

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