Rural burglars still on Plateau

It appears the rash of home burglaries in rural Enumclaw has not abated.

A string of break-ins had neighbors on high alert earlier in the year, particularly those who live northwest of town. Neighbors were carefully keeping tabs on unknown vehicles, watching out for one another and comparing notes.

Victims know all too well that the problem hasn’t gone away and one of the latest incidents provides eerie proof that the burglaries are related.

A resident of 228th arrived home in the middle of the afternoon Sept. 16 to discover a nondescript white car backed into her driveway. She sat in her car and stared down the robbers who drove around her and fled. She had the composure to jot down a license number and immediately call 911 and made the wise decision to stay out of her house.

Within 15 minutes, King County deputies had stopped the suspect vehicle on state Route 164 and the victim, though nervous, could easily identify the young men she watched drive away from her home.

That’s where the story takes some odd twists.

The burglars had kicked in her door and taken a flat-screen TV and a couple of rifles. But when deputies searched the suspect’s car, those items were not found. What was discovered, however, was the loot taken during the burglary of a home on 236th, approximately a mile away.

The victim believes a second car and additional suspects were involved in her case, but authorities have led other area victims to wonder if there is a “stash house” in the immediate area where stolen goods are quickly hidden.

By comparing notes, rural neighbors have linked at least three crimes and two alleged gang members.

In January, another rural home just northeast of Enumclaw was robbed and burglars took weapons, among other things. The following week, a shooting in the Seattle suburb of Skyway involved one of the pistols stolen from the Enumclaw home. When police investigated the Skyway home, they also found jewelry taken during the Enumclaw robbery the week before.

The shooting was apparently accidental, a situation where a 14-year-old discharged a handgun and shot his 17-year-old brother n the arm. Police told the January robbery victim the brothers are part of a Hispanic gang that operates all along the West Coast and is entrenched in the central Washington city of Yakima.

The connection? Those brothers are the two arrested following the Sept. 16 robbery, which occurred less than a mile from the January robbery.

“We’ve been on high alert all summer,” said the recent victim. “Everyone around us has been burglarized.”

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