Burglaries sweep through North End

POULSBO — When Tom Etchey wakes up in the morning, the usual worries of work and family are no longer in the forefront of his thoughts. Instead, he’s wondering what agency or company he’ll have to call to gain back the most important thing in his life — his identity. After coming home from a two-week vacation Sept. 28 to find his house burglarized, vehicles broken into and personal belongings and papers missing, he and his family have had to put their lives back together one piece at a time.

The break-in was one of three that happened within several miles of each other, and that fact alone has the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office believing they are linked, said KCSO Public Information Officer Scott Wilson.

“We are seeing an increase in burglaries, and we’re looking at different factors, like who just got out of jail, who got out of prison,” he said. “We are working to find the common factor, we are trying to do that. Be that as it may, we are starting to see an increase, and we’re not quite sure why.”

The three burglaries, which were reported on Sept. 26 and 28, occurred on Delate Road, Lemolo Shore Drive and Totten Road. KCSO deputies are working with the Suquamish Police Department on at least one of the cases, Wilson said. There were two other break-ins on Taree Drive in Kingston reported Sept. 10, and a rash of thefts in Poulsbo involving tools reported between Sept. 23-25. Wilson said the KCSO could not connect these thefts and break-ins with one other, but there is the potential similar people are involved.

In the meantime, Etchey, along with the other families, individuals and companies, are dealing with the feeling of being burglarized.

“The day starts with what agency we have to call regarding our identifications,” he said. “There is also the case to deal with, we are doing an investigation of our own, even though the deputies do a great job... We are replacing our Social Security cards, birth certificates and passports, and getting our vehicles repaired. It’s been exhausting.”

Wilson said many times it’s obvious when a break-in is conducted by juveniles or more mature burglars. Usually, teenagers will take money, alcohol and even food, while older thieves look for ways to steal identities and items they can sell on the black market. Often, they are looking for ways to fund some kind of addiction, he said, which can, and often does, include identity theft.

The method for discouraging burglars is to make it as difficult as possible to enter a residence or office so they will look for an alternate target. Wilson said to always lock doors, don’t leave anything valuable in vehicles, install an alarm system, always arm the system and maintain a relationship with neighbors. While out of town, be sure to have a trusted family member or friend check on the house, he said, once a day or every few days if possible.

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