GOLD BAR — Police had been looking for him for a while.
Lately, they’d turned up the pressure, contacting Crime Stoppers, which offered a $1,000 reward for information.
The fugitive’s face turned up on newscasts and social media.
Volunteers involved in a community block-watch program were on the look out.
And officers worked the small town streets contacting anyone who might know the suspect who goes by “Wild Card.”
The search ended Thursday in a backyard travel trailer used for storage. That’s where law officers arrested Brett Lee Card, 26, a convicted sex offender more recently suspected of burglary. The transient had been trying to get some sleep.
Gold Bar police began looking for Card after a Dec. 14 break-in.
That day, an 18-year-old man was home when he discovered that someone was in his mother’s room. He allegedly recognized the intruder as the man he knew as “Wild Card,” who’s accused of stealing jewelry from the room before fleeing. A police dog could not track him. Card also was wanted on a state Department of Corrections escape warrant and for failing to register as a sex offender.
David Casey is a sheriff’s sergeant who serves as Gold Bar’s police chief under a contract between the city and county.
He had a cordial conversation with the suspect after the arrest and on the drive to jail.
Card told him he knew police were looking for him. He allegedly told the police chief that he contacted his fiance and others in Forks, a Clallam County timber town surrounded by the Olympic National Forest that’s best known these days as the backdrop for the “Twilight” series of books and movies. He wanted them to say he was hiding out there. He reportedly had hoped to hop a train and get out of state.
Card described how running from police was the “greatest rush” he’s ever had.
That thrill might have lost some luster earlier this week. He was walking along the railroad tracks when deputies shined a spotlight in his direction. To avoid detection, he jumped into the river, a chilly plunge, especially in winter months. In the process, he lost his gear.
The suspect allegedly told Casey that he hadn’t slept much or eaten much in the two days that followed.
“The guy was down to the point where the only thing he had left was the clothes on his back,” Casey said.
The tip that led officers to Card came through Crime Stoppers, Casey said.
Card was sentenced to more than two years in prison in 2015 after a conviction for third-degree child rape. He also had three domestic violence assault convictions among more than a dozen adult misdemeanors.
Casey said there have been other burglaries in town recently. It is too early to know if Card is a suspect in some of them, Casey said.
“Our investigation is still ongoing to determine whether he is linked to any other burglaries or whether they were perpetrated by someone else,” Casey said Friday.
A judge set bail at $20,000 in Everett District Court on Friday.
Caleb Hutton contributed to this story.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.