Tacoma police arrested two men suspected in a series of garage burglaries this summer as they were fleeing the scene of a break-in at a North End garage this morning.
Detectives had been investigating the two, described as in their early 40s, in connection with the burglaries. A majority of the break-ins have occurred in the northern part of the city, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said today.
"They had these guys on the radar," he said. "But they were not able to prove anything until today."
A witness called Tacoma police shortly before 5 a.m. today after noticing a person with a light going back and forth from a neighbor's garage near North 27th and Junnett streets. The witness yelled out and the man fled, Fulghum said.
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The witness then called his neighbor. The victim inventoried his garage and called police. While he waited, the suspects returned to the area.
The suspects got in a vehicle and started to flee as officers arrived. Officers detained the two men, Fulghum said.
Officers found a headlamp in the vehicle. The witness identified the driver as the burglar he'd seen earlier, Fulghum said.
Investigators suspect the men are "prolific garage burglars" and could be responsible for 30 to 40 burglaries this summer, Fulghum said.
"They would cruise the alleys and look for unsecure, open garages night and day," Fulghum said.
They would take lawn mowers and other valuable property.
Some of the break-ins have been reported. In some cases, the victims were able to tell investigators what was stolen but were not able to provide makes, models and serial numbers for more valuable items. Those pieces of information are key in trying to return found stolen property to victims, Fulghum said.
"Secure your garages," he said. "Jot down the make, model and serial numbers of major items."
The investigation continues.