Man arrested in tool thefts

SNOHOMISH — Talk about getting caught red-handed.

A Snohomish man reportedly was wearing another man’s coveralls and hat when police officers arrested him Tuesday at his home.

Investigators believe the man, 35, is responsible for a rash of thefts and break-ins around town during the last few weeks. Police recovered up to $50,000 in stolen property. They also recovered a $70,000 work truck that was taken from a business.

Some of the property, including metal wire, had been sold to a Snohomish wrecking yard. A bunch of tools were found in the suspect’s van and around his house, according to a police affidavit filed Wednesday.

The man was booked Tuesday into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of trafficking in stolen property and two counts of possession of stolen property.

He allegedly admitted that the property seized by police wasn’t his, but he denied being behind the thefts.

The suspect reportedly told police that two men had given him the tools and wire. He said the two men let him keep the tools in exchange for using his business license to sell the wire at the wrecking yard. He said he thought the property was stolen but he needed the money, police wrote.

The man apparently runs a construction business.

Snohomish police were called Monday morning to a business where a work truck had been stolen. The truck was packed with tools, metal wire, other equipment and work clothes.

Then on Tuesday one of the victims found some of the stolen wire at a local wrecking yard. A scale operator at the yard told police he’d bought the wire from the suspect on Monday.

That led police to the suspect’s home. While they were there, the man drove up in a van with a stolen ladder strapped to the top of the vehicle, Snohomish police Cmdr. A.J. Bryant said. He also was wearing coveralls and a hat that had been left in the stolen truck, police wrote.

“He couldn’t have made it any easier for us,” Bryant said.

Officers recovered about 90 percent of the stolen property. The combined value is estimated at as much as $50,000. Most of the property has been returned to the victims, Bryant said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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