Two men sought in obituary break-ins

  • Fri Mar 30th, 2012 9:55pm
  • News

By Eric Stevick Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE — Police searched a Lake Stevens area home Friday for evidence from a series of burglaries that occurred when people were attending funerals.

Authorities said they are looking for two Snohomish County men they believe are connected to the half dozen break-ins that have occurred in the north and east county since January.

Tyler Austin Chase, 31, and Corey James Arendt, 20, are suspected of mining information from obituaries and hitting the homes of loved ones attending the funeral services.

The suspects apparently stole several firearms and are considered armed and dangerous, Marysville police Lt. Darin Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said police believe the men drove off some time Thursday evening in a rented black 2011 Chevrolet Impala with the Oregon license plate 376ETA.

“Anyone sighting this vehicle should not attempt to approach it,” Rasmussen said. “They should immediately call 911.”

Police think the pair are the only people involved in the burglaries.

Marysville police working with the Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant for a residence in the 14800 block of 70th Place NE in the unincorporated Lake Stevens area.

Police recovered many pieces of property, including a saxophone reported stolen in one of the burglaries that occurred east of Arlington, Rasmussen said.

The instrument was taken in a March 2 burglary east of Arlington. Gary Baxter was attending the funeral of his father, former Marysville City Council member Ken Baxter, when the break-in occurred. Many items, including a laptop, passport and money, also were stolen.

The saxophone had sentimental value to the family. It once belonged to Jan Baxter’s grandfather who played it as a young man many decades ago.

“I received a surprise call from the Marysville police this morning and they found some of our items including the saxophone,” Baxter said. “What great news for my wife and mother-in-law. They were so happy.”

Rasmussen said detectives are sorting through the recovered goods.

“There is a bunch of property,” he said. “At this point, there is the one (item) we have identified coming from a particular individual.”

That item was the saxophone.

Burglars also broke into the Soper Hill home of John and Danutsia Burgy on March 23. They took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of items, including an extensive jewelry collection, electronics and a dozen firearms.

There also were belongings the family considered irreplaceable, including personal papers and a strip of cloth with a prisoner number from when Danutsia Burgy’s father was held by the Nazis at the Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II.

The home searched Friday did not appear to have items belonging to the couple, but John Burgy said he is hopeful.

“It has been an emotional roller coaster,” he said. “We don’t know if they are holding onto their cache or have distributed it.”

A vehicle associated with the home was impounded while detectives waited for a judge’s permission to search it as well.

Both men have misdemeanor convictions for a laundry list of misdeeds, including offenses involving stolen property and drugs. Arendt was charged this week with third-degree theft and possession of drug paraphernalia in Cascade District Court in Arlington. His arraignment is scheduled for April 18.

The investigation is continuing, Rasmussen said. The lieutenant said police don’t believe the burglary scheme involved a meat vendor’s truck. Some people reported suspicious activities involving such a truck in north Snohomish County in recent months.

Anyone with tips is asked Marysville Sgt. Doug Lee at 360-363-8315.

Diana Hefley contributed to this story.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446,