Two young men were arrested Wednesday afternoon after they allegedly broke into a Thurston County home and stole Christmas gifts.
Tupu P. Taufetee, 18, was booked into the Thurston County Jail, and appeared before Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon on Thursday. Dixon found probable cause for one count of residential burglary, and set bail at $10,000.
A 16-year-old male also was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Juvenile Detention Facility.
“Even if this isn’t the most serious crime, I can’t imagine a more offensive one at this time of year than stealing children’s wrapped Christmas presents,” Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Toynbee said.
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Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a call at a home on Stillwell Street Northwest about 4:15 p.m. Wednesday when neighbors reported seeing two suspects going from door to door, trying door handles and looking into car windows. One caller said he saw the suspects enter a gray house and emerge with backpacks they hadn’t been wearing when they entered the home, according to court documents.
Lacey police officers arrived at the scene first, and located Taufetee and the juvenile about a block away from the home. They searched Taufetee’s backpack and found wrapped presents. Taufetee told the officers that the juvenile, who is his cousin, had given him the backpack to hold right before police arrived.
The juvenile told the officers that the bag wasn’t his.
A deputy went to the home and found an open window. When the resident arrived home, he identified the backpack and its contents as his. He told police he had purchased the presents — some coloring canvases and Star Wars books — for his daughters. He noticed that a PlayStation 3 and some controllers also were missing from the home.
The deputy contacted Taufetee again and asked him if he had taken more than one bag from the home. Taufetee said he and the juvenile had taken another bag, but he didn’t know where it was. The deputy located the bag behind a car, near where the suspects were arrested. It contained the missing Playstation 3, the controllers and some games, according to court documents.
Taufetee recorded a confession at the jail, and said that the juvenile had entered the window and opened a side door for him, according to court documents. He said he and the juvenile had taken the presents from under a Christmas tree.