Burglary suspect arrested after fleeing into swamp

A 28-year-old burglary suspect allegedly tried to evade Kitsap County sheriff’s deputies by crashing through underbrush and swimming into a swamp near SW Pine Road early Friday.

Deputies found the man, a transient from Port Orchard, around 12:30 a.m., almost fully submerged in muddy water. They swam in and dragged the suspect from the pond and out of the woods.

The hunt lasted half an hour and began at the site of the alleged burglary attempt, a home on SW Pine Road.

Deputies responded to an “intruder alarm” at the residence. Shortly after they arrived, dispatch told them that a witness had heard someone break a window, and she saw the suspect flee into the woods.

One of the deputies, who had been trained in visual tracking techniques, scanned the tree line and noticed that the leaves on a salal bush were pulled in a direction going away from the house. The deputy followed similar tracks through the woods until he saw a foot sticking out of a bush.

“Police, don’t move,” the deputy yelled.

The suspect quickly stood up and ran.

The deputy continued to follow him, and was joined by another deputy. They couldn’t see the suspect but could “clearly hear him” crashing through the brush ahead, according to one deputy’s report.

Eventually, the deputies arrived at a “large swampy area” with thick brush on either bank.

The suspect had left tracks in the mud that led them to believe he had waded into the water.

One of the deputies returned to the house for backup, while the other waited in the dark with the suspect. Every few minutes, the deputy clearly heard the suspect moving around in the pond, he wrote in his report.

A Mason County K-9 unit eventually made it to the scene and located the suspect near a bank, “with only his head above the water line,” according to the report.

The suspect allegedly told deputies that he couldn’t move, so two of them got into the water, “well over eight feet deep,” according to the report, and dragged him out.

The deputies arrested him on suspicion of burglary and handcuffed him.

The suspect said he didn’t know what the deputy was talking about, and he was just “hanging out” in the pond when they arrived.

Deputies took him, “walking/dragging/crawling,” out of the brush.

One of the deputies searched the suspect and found a black leather wallet in his pocket. It contained credit cards, identification cards and insurance information belonging to several different people. Some of the cards had been reported stolen.

Deputies took the suspect to the hospital. When he was medically cleared, they took him to the Kitsap County Jail, where he was booked for residential burglary, second-degree possession of stolen property and a warrant from the Port Orchard Police Department.

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