ARLINGTON — A burglar pleaded guilty this week to breaking into an airport hangar where an off-duty Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant was sleeping, triggering a fight that left both men bloodied and shocked by the deputy’s stun gun.
Randy Howard Newman, 32, disarmed the deputy in the brawl at the Arlington Municipal Airport, court papers show. He must serve 21 months in prison and reimburse the deputy for two stolen motorbikes, according to a Snohomish County judge’s ruling.
On the afternoon of March 10, the off-duty sergeant reported two of his motorcycles and aviation headsets were taken from the hangar. He told Arlington officers he planned to stay late in case the thief returned for a third motorcycle in the hangar, according to police. He ended up staying the night, along with his department-issued stun gun, his police radio and a pistol.
Around 5:30 a.m., he was awakened by a man wearing a red headlamp who had broken in.
“Police! Don’t move or I will tase you!” the deputy shouted, according to charging papers.
The burglar ran for the door. The sergeant fired his stun gun. The burglar collapsed from the electric shock, but the stun gun wires broke as he writhed on the ground. Newman got up and shoved the sergeant against the hangar door. The two men hit each other in the face. Newman grabbed the stun gun and fired at the sergeant. The sergeant picked up Newman’s bolt cutters and beat the man over the head. Newman quit fighting and ran to his truck.
The sergeant radioed for help. Arlington police chased the pickup north until the driver pulled over in the city.
Newman was treated for head injuries at Cascade Valley Hospital before being booked into jail. He pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary Tuesday.
In the past, Newman had served jail time for unlawful possession of a firearm. His rap sheet shows no other felony convictions as an adult. Recently his wife and his stepson were both sentenced to years in prison, and months ago he’d been laid off from his concrete job, he said in court Tuesday. He’d been struggling.
“I got into a — you know, a bad side,” he told the judge. “And I’m not denying guilt toward my actions. It was a screw-up on my part. As a man I stand responsible for my actions, and ready for the consequences.”
The stolen motorcycles were not recovered. Newman agreed to pay back their cost as part of his plea agreement. As he handed down the sentence, Judge David Kurtz noted the unusual swiftness of the case. Newman was arraigned the same day he pleaded guilty.
Immediately after the burglary, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office began investigating whether the sergeant violated department policies while off-duty March 11. That investigation was ongoing as of Wednesday.
City officials had sent out public warnings about burglaries in the industrial part of Arlington, in the weeks before the break-in. Police were searching for connections between Newman and those crimes.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.