Serial burglar still prowling on island | UPDATE

Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner holds a police sketch of a suspected serial burglar during a press conference Wednesday. - Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review
Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner holds a police sketch of a suspected serial burglar during a press conference Wednesday.
— image credit: Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review

Bainbridge Island police released two sketches of suspects who may have been involved in a string of residential burglaries on the island since early March.

Police Chief Matthew Hamner said Wednesday the illustrations were prepared by a police sketch artist with another agency. The sketches were prepared on April 15 and April 17, after more burglaries were reported on the island, and witnesses to earlier burglaries provided detailed descriptions to police.

One of the suspects is believed to be a serial burglar, Hamner said.

He is described as 30 to 40 years old and 5-foot-7. He is about 140 pounds with dark colored hair and a dark complexion, Hamner said.

He could possibly be Hispanic or Native American.

In the most recent incident, the man entered a Bainbridge home while one of the residents was still home.

A 22-year-old woman was at home while her parents were away, and heard someone entering the house the afternoon of Wednesday, April 16.

She retreated to a bathroom, locked the door, and called 911.

Hamner said the intruder forced entry into the bathroom — possibly to look for prescription drugs — but fled when he found the woman inside.

“I don’t think that he realized that someone was home,” Hamner said.

Police quickly responded to the 911 call.

“We just missed him,” Hamner said.

He was seen leaving in a green- or teal-colored 1990s Ford Explorer.

Hamner could not provide details on whether the man was driving the vehicle or was a passenger.

Roughly two dozen burglaries have been reported on Bainbridge Island since March.

In six of the burglaries, the intruder entered through an unlocked door. The burglar forced his way into homes in some of the other cases.

The majority of the incidents occurred during the week and daytime hours  while residents are at work.

The intruder has made off with easy-to-carry items such as jewelry and laptop computers, as well as three firearms.

The theft of the guns adds another dimension to the crimes.

“If we were to make contact with him, he would be treated as an armed suspect because he has stolen weapons,” Hamner said.

“We can’t assume that he doesn’t have them, and legally, we are justified in treating him as an armed suspect.”

Police also provided a sketch of a person who was involved in a February burglary.

The intruder had entered a Wing Point Way home around 3 a.m. and was confronted by the homeowner.

A brief struggle ensued before the man fled on foot.

He is described as a white man between 20 and 30 years old with long brown hair. He is about 170 pounds and 6 feet tall.

Hamner said police detectives do not believe the two men are connected, but welcome the public’s assistance in locating the pair.

Authorities announced the spree of daylight burglaries on Bainbridge in March, and said a serial burglar was targeting neighborhoods in remote areas with limited traffic during the day but places close to public areas such as parks or cemeteries.

More recently, residential burglaries have been reported on Tuesday, April 15 on Northeast Hidden Cove Road; Wednesday, April 16 on Park Avenue; Thursday, April 10 on Pleasant Beach Drive Northeast; and Monday, April 7 on Euclid Avenue Northeast, Northeast Lafayette Avenue, and Sunrise Drive Northeast.

All four of the residential burglaries reported during the first two weeks of April occurred on weekday afternoons.

Residents are asked to call 911 if they have information on the suspects.


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