MILL CREEK — Two men were arrested but the case isn’t over. Detectives are going through evidence and believe there may be more victims.
For weeks, Mill Creek police have been investigating a string of car prowls and burglaries. They believe the crimes are linked to two men who were living in a local homeless camp, court papers show.
The investigation started with a burglary that was reported before dawn Aug. 25 on 33rd Drive SE. The homeowner turned over surveillance video to police that showed a man stealing a $1,000 bicycle and two backpacks from a garage. A drill set also was missing.
A suspect was arrested Sept. 12 on unrelated warrants. The 22-year-old reportedly had a stolen wallet and shaved keys on him, as well as documents in someone else’s name. The wallet was missing from a car prowl in the same neighborhood as the burglary. The man reportedly admitted to breaking into as many as 50 cars over the past year.
He happened to be at the police station just hours after detective Ty Hughes watched video of a recent burglary.
“I noticed he had black Nike shoes,” Hughes said.
Similar shoes were worn by the man in the video. The man in custody and the man on camera had similar forearm tattoos.
The man told police his crime spree was “a result of being hooked on heroin over the last eight years,” Hughes wrote in the arrest report.
The man was booked on suspicion of various property crimes. He is known to live in a camp along Dumas Road, near McCollum Park.
Days later, an alleged accomplice, a 37-year-old man with the street name of “Solo,” was arrested and booked for investigation of identity theft and trafficking in heroin and methamphetamine. He reportedly was linked to credit cards that went missing after a car prowl. The cards were used to ring up $764 in fraudulent charges, according to an arrest report.
The man allegedly admitted to being a “low-level drug dealer.” He also reportedly said he had obtained the credit cards by trading them with the other suspect for drugs. He admitted to swiping a handful of tip jars from coffee shops and other businesses in Mill Creek and surrounding areas.
Investigators are working to find the owners of recovered stolen property, and Hughes has been reviewing additional videos and older cases for potential connections, he said.
As of Wednesday, both suspects remained at the Snohomish County Jail.
Some of the thefts involving the men are believed to have occurred outside city limits, and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Everett police also are involved. Anyone who may have been targeted and didn’t report the crime is encouraged to contact their local police department.