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Would be burglars bagged

POULSBO — Five would-be burglars will be decking the halls this Christmas behind bars at the Kitsap County Jail. In the early morning hours Wednesday, they had hoped to play “the Grinch” and deck much more.

Poulsbo Market Place on the corner of Highway 305 and Hostmark Street was targeted by four men and one juvenile but their plans were dashed by an employee and the cooperative efforts of area law enforcement.

Preliminary reports from the Poulsbo Police Department, indicate that an employee doing janitorial work first heard footsteps on Market Place’s roof around 4 a.m. After a few minutes, the worker saw the store’s roof venting being torn away and hands reaching into the space below, said PPD Chief Jeff Doran.

“They had cut the wiring from the roof and turned off an electric panel they thought was an alarm — it was actually for the freezer,” Doran said, noting that the suspects had removed a roof fan to gain entry.

The employee ran across Hostmark and called the police from the Chevron station.

Poulsbo Police were the first on the scene and Officer Bob Wright was able to apprehend one of the suspects, who was “dressed in all black and had a black face mask,” at gun point in the rear of the store.

“The other guys saw the police arriving and got down off the roof,” Doran said. “He’s just not as fast.”

The remaining four suspects, also dressed in the black garb, fled east into the darkness. Knowing that there was more than one perpetrator, Wright and fellow officers from PPD, Suquamish and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office quickly set up a containment area around Wilderness Park, closing off key escape routes on Hostmark, Caldart Street and to the north, near St. Olaf’s Catholic Church.

The Bremerton Police Department’s Canine Unit was used to flush the men, who Doran said were between 18 and 20 years old and the 17-year-old, and arrest the lot of them. The suspects were armed with knives, tasers and communicated via walkie-talkies.

“The handler and the dog just did a fantastic job,” Doran commented. One suspect was bitten by the canine during the arrest effort but was treated by Poulsbo paramedics before being transported to lock up.

Doran said there was no indication that the men who attempted to burglarize Poulsbo Market Place were the same responsible for hitting other areas in North Kitsap during the past year. He also credited teamwork for the arrests.

“The key to this story is the cooperation between agencies. When someone in the county needs help, everyone responds,” Doran said. “All those guys were out there in the pouring rain and they all worked together.”

“Officer Wright did an excellent job in apprehending that first suspect and coordinating the containment,” he added.

When asked whether Wright was enjoying the fruits of his labor Dec. 24, Doran responded with a chuckle before saying, “He’s spending his Christmas Eve typing his butt off on the report.”

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