Authorities nab elusive burglary suspect

PORT ORCHARD – The elusive burglary suspect Christopher Ryan Berg, 23, is finally behind bars. Berg, a suspect in the North End burglaries that plagued the area for months, was arrested Wednesday night on the 16000 block of State Highway 305 in Poulsbo, said Scott Wilson, public information officer for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department.

Berg was arraigned in Kitsap County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. He faces one count of eluding police officers, two counts of possession of stolen property, one count of knowingly trafficking in stolen property and violation of probation. His bail is set at $107,500.

Berg managed to stay just out of authorities’ reach for the better part of a month. He was the subject of the now-infamous two-hour standoff on Hostmark Street in Poulsbo March 12. Authorities surrounded the Peninsula Glen Apartments, which are in close proximity to three North Kitsap School District schools, but Berg had left the apartment just before authorities arrived.

He’s had several other near-arrests since, many of which involved high-speed car chases. In the most notable instance, Berg was gassing up his girlfriend’s gold 2004 Chevrolet Malibu Classic on March 24, when a Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy spotted him. Berg’s girlfriend was walking back toward the car when Berg allegedly jumped in and drove off without removing the gas nozzle from the car. The nozzle broke off and was dangling from the gas tank during the chase.

The officer involved in the chase “didn’t want to put other motorists at risk,” so he backed off, Wilson said. Berg allegedly drove the vehicle into Jefferson County, where it was involved in a hit and run, according to a lengthy charging statement from the sheriff’s office.

Berg has been sighted in and around Poulsbo a number of times after the March 12 incident. According to the sheriff’s department’s charging papers, he is suspected of breaking into people’s homes and selling their possessions even after it was widely known there was a warrant for his arrest.

Berg’s eventual arrest was the result of several law enforcement agencies -- the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, WESTNET, Poulsbo police and Suquamish police — working together, Wilson said.

Authorities suspect Berg was involved in 75-100 residential burglaries in and around the north end of the county and on Bainbridge Island. Authorities made several other arrests in association with these crimes on Feb. 22-23. Of those arrested in that round, only one suspect remains in custody in the Kitsap County Jail.

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