Bremerton suspect tied to thefts in Kitsap and Snohomish counties

His heists weren’t for drugs or quick cash, detectives say. In most of the alleged break-ins, the loot went straight into storage.

“His thought process,” said Kitsap County sheriff’s detective Chad Birkenfeld, “was he could use it at a later date.”

From May to August, the 32-year-old Bremerton man burglarized construction shops, auto dealerships and machinery rental companies around Puget Sound including Snohomish County, Birkenfeld said. In his biggest capers, he’d take a truck, attach a trailer to it and load up tools and other property.

Detectives from the Bremerton Police Department and Washington State Patrol worked the case and estimate the man’s take adds up to $750,000. That included electronics tools worth $10,000 and an excavator worth $15,000 in Snohomish County.

He turned himself in Aug. 25. In exchange for giving authorities a tour of the stashed goods, prosecutors are charging him with one count of first-degree possession of stolen property.

The Bremerton man allegedly took a truck from a Seattle moving company on July 27 that was equipped with GPS, which mapped his journey to his Thompson Drive home in Bremerton for law enforcement. Police said he was living in a stolen trailer there.

It wasn’t his first run-in with the law. Birkenfeld said he had been investigated twice before for high-dollar thefts, including a series of burglaries that ended in 2004 after he had taken $2 million in goods. He’s had 17 felony convictions stemming from theft, burglary and possession of stolen property, according to Kitsap County Superior Court documents.

Birkenfeld said he had been released from prison in May.

On May 5, the man was out and up to his old tricks: Detectives say he stole a boat and its trailer in Bellevue. He left the boat in Tumwater, but took its trailer and some electronic equipment from the boat and put it on his own, stored at a Ramsey Road address in south Kitsap County, Birkenfeld said.

From there, he went all over Puget Sound, taking excavators from machinery companies in Chehalis, Tukwila and Monroe. He took a portable generator in Seattle, and chain saws from a rental company in Poulsbo, police said.

Detectives said he often cut his way into a fence in the middle of the night. On some occasions, he spent hours inside the businesses. On a security video at one Seattle business, a man believed to be the suspect can be seen loading a van and a flatbed trailer with tools, then attaching the two and driving away.

Birkenfeld said the suspect took detectives to a variety of wooded areas and rental storage units where he’d taken the excavators and other property.

Some of the stolen goods, including a towable generator worth $10,000, haven’t been recovered. He took detectives to an area near Panther Lake where he said he’d left it, but they were unable to find it. Birkenfeld said it was likely “restolen.”

The suspect appeared to not be all that concerned with leaving the stolen property out in the open.

“I don’t think he really cared,” Birkenfeld said.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Ella Larson, left, and Simon Fuentes sort through blueberries at Hazel Blue Acres on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Fruits, flowers and bees aplenty in Arlington farm fete

First-ever event highlights local growers’ bounty and contributions to local community

The Everett Districting Commission is proposing four adjustments to the city council districts based on 2020 Census data. (City of Everett)
Proposed map shifts every Everett City Council district

Census data from 2020 prompted several “small tweaks” to council district boundaries.

Cars wait to turn onto Highway 9 from Bickford Avenue on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 9 stretch closing for roundabout work next week

Drivers will need to use detours as the closure affects the stretch between Second and 30th streets in Snohomish.

Commanding Officer Meghan Bodnar is greeted by her son Grady, who hasn’t seen her in 224 days, at Naval Station Everett on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 200-plus days abroad, Navy destroyers return to Everett homeport

The USS Gridley is one of the few women-led ships, attesting to a growing number of women in the U.S. military.

A concept drawing shows the future multi-use path along U.S. 2 between 179th Avenue Southeast and the North Kelsey Street shopping area. (City of Monroe)
Monroe to start building walking, biking path along U.S. 2

The long-awaited project will give pedestrians and cyclists a safe route to the North Kelsey Street shopping area.

Grand Apartments’ owners are under scrutiny over alleged unpermitted electrical and plumbing work. Photographed in Everett, Washington on August 11, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Decision delayed on $4,500 in fines for Grand Apartments owner

An attorney for the landlord said he only learned of the hearing 15 minutes before it started Thursday.

Jennifer Bereskin is a housing advocate who was previously homeless in south Snohomish County.  Photographed on August 9, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Where shelter space has been scarce, Lynnwood explores ‘rapid rehousing’

Jennifer Bereskin grew up couch-surfing near Lynnwood. A new program seeks to create an easier path for this generation.

Everett
Man dies in motorcycle crash that snarled I-5 in Everett

Washington State Patrol: he tried to speed by another driver but lost control and hit the shoulder barrier.

Rev. Barbara Raspberry, dressed in her go-to officiating garments, sits in the indoor chapel at her home, the Purple Wedding Chapel, on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Everett, Washington. The space used to be two bedrooms, but she and her husband Don took down a wall converted them into a room for wedding ceremonies the day after their youngest son moved out over 20 years ago. The room can seat about 20 for in-person ceremonies, plus it serves as a changing room for brides and is the setting for virtual weddings that Raspberry officiates between brides and their incarcerated fiancees at the Monroe Correctional Complex. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s oh-so-colorful Purple Wedding Chapel is in the red

Rev. Rasberry has hitched hundreds of couples over the years. After her husband died, she’s unsure if she can keep the place.

Most Read