Woman hides in closet, calls 911

TUMWATER - A Tumwater mother hid in a closet early Saturday morning and called 911 after a man suspected in seven recent home burglaries in the Tumwater Hill area broke into her home in the 3000 block of Banks Lane Southwest, court papers state.

The woman, who declined to be identified during an interview Monday, said she was “petrified” when she heard glass breaking.

Tumwater Police Detective Jennifer Kolb said the suspect, Kevin Hallford, 30, of Olympia, was arrested on suspicion of seven break-ins at model home sites in the area since Dec. 30. Hallford was arrested inside the Banks Lane home around 3:50 a.m. Saturday.

At the time of the Banks Lane burglary, Hallford probably believed the home was unoccupied, Kolb said.

“I don’t think he expected anyone to be living there,” Kolb said.

Kolb said detectives have recovered stolen merchandise including televisions, a painting, DVDs, jewelry and home furnishings worth thousands of dollars.

Hallford woke up the sleeping woman when he used a rock to break a glass door to the home, court papers state.

She “thought it might have been a picture falling off the wall and got out of bed to check,” court papers state. “As she started walking down the stairs … she heard what sounded like a person walking around on the first floor.”

The woman then hid in a closet in her bedroom and called 911. The woman said Monday that neither of her two children were home at the time of the break-in, but Hallford’s keys were found in her daughter’s bedroom. He apparently had tried to take the daughter’s video game system and some games from the bedroom, court papers state.

Tumwater police officers were already in the neighborhood when the woman called 911 because a burglar alarm had just gone off at a model home, Kolb said. Hallford is suspected of that attempted burglary, Kolb said.

When Hallford was placed under arrest inside the woman’s home, police found a rock in his right front pants pocket. “When asked if he would be willing to answer some questions, he shrugged his shoulders and stated, ‘What can I say, you found me in the house,’” court papers state.

Police found stolen merchandise in Hallford’s vehicle and in his Olympia apartment on 12th Avenue Southeast, Kolb said. Tumwater detectives later contacted the owner of Carbon River Homes, which developed the model homes that were burglarized in the area. He told detectives that six of his unoccupied model homes on Tumwater Hill had been burglarized that week.

The woman who lives on Banks Lane said she is replacing her glass door with a solid door. Without being specific, she also said that should her home be targeted by a burglary in the future, “I would take measures so that next time I can defend myself.”

Hallford has no known criminal history, court papers state. Hallford was being held Monday at the Thurston County Jail, with bail set at $3,000.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465