2 arrested in string of burglaries during funerals

MARYSVILLE — Two men accused of pillaging homes across Snohomish County while homeowners were attending the funerals of loved ones have been arrested.

The suspects were booked into the Snohomish County Jail late Friday.

Tyler Chase, 31, was charged last week with residential burglary and trafficking in stolen property.

Chase made a brief court appearance Monday. He pleaded not guilty.

His attorney asked Superior Court Judge Richard Okrent to release Chase pending trial. He argued that Chase isn’t accused of any violent crimes and is living in Marysville. He also added that Chase is a Little League coach in the middle of an active season.

Deputy prosecutor Tim Geraghty asked that the judge hold Chase on $25,000 bail. He argued that Chase had been actively avoiding police, traveling to Oregon where he is accused of selling off stolen jewelry.

The prosecutor also noted that several guns were stolen in the burglaries.

Okrent maintained bail at $25,000. Trial was set for May 25.

Fellow suspect Corey Arendt, 20, has not been charged. He was released over the weekend after posting $10,000 bail.

Multiple charges are pending the outcome of the police investigations, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Craig Matheson said Monday. Those investigations are expected to be completed this week or next, he added.

Court papers show the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is investigating seven burglaries that occurred while families were attending funerals.

Sheriff’s detectives recovered missing property from three of the burglaries when they served a search warrant on a Lake Stevens area home where the suspects stayed. Detectives are waiting for results on forensics tests, sheriff’s chief Kevin Prentiss said.

Police believe thieves found their targets by scouring obituaries to identify empty homes.

Marysville police had one case in the apparent string. The home of John and Danutsia Burgy was hit March 23 while the couple attended his mother’s funeral.

Prosecutors filed charges against Chase in the Burgy burglary. The Burgys estimate burglars stole goods valued at roughly $400,000, including a dozen firearms, jewelry, gold, personal documents and family heirlooms.

Prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Chase last week after learning that he might be in Oregon. They wanted to make sure that if he was arrested there that he’d be sent back to Washington to answer to the charges here.

Burgy was informed on Monday of the arrests.

He said he was delighted suspects had been caught, but also disappointed one of the men was able to post bail.

“They were considered armed and dangerous,” Burgy said, pointing to police warnings not to approach the pair. “They aren’t exactly like Boy Scout leaders.”

Burgy said he hopes the investigation will turn up documents and other possessions considered dear to his wife’s family.

At the top of that list is the strip of cloth with a prisoner number from Danutsia Burgy’s father, who was held by the Nazis at the Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II. A Catholic from Poland, he was hauled to the notorious camp on German soil where tens of thousands of people died or were executed.

Also missing are John Burgy’s commission papers, awards and citations from the 20 years he spent in the U.S. Coast Guard reserves.

Danutsia Burgy hopes to recover her mother’s birth certificate from 1922 Poland as well as her mother’s death certificate and wedding ring.

Detectives were able to retrieve five of her bracelets that Chase allegedly pawned to a Lynnwood gold buyer, according to court papers.

They also reportedly found some of her jewelry in a residence where the men lived. A woman living there said one of the suspects gave her three gold rings, two with diamonds, as well as a boxed set of silverware and a silver teapot. She was wearing one of the rings when questioned by a Marysville detective, court papers show.

A saxophone reported stolen from an Arlington area home was found inside the home as well.

Diana Hefley contributed to this story.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com

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