The Washington State Patrol has arrested two women who are accused of breaking into Gov. Jay Inslee’s office about 7 p.m. on Sunday June 15 in the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia, entering through a second-floor window on a ledge and stealing numerous items.
Items stolen include a Native American blanket from the Squaxin Island Tribe, a bottle of wine that was a gift to an employee in the Governor’s Office, a Native American mask and a ceremonial Washington State Patrol campaign hat, WSP spokesman Bob Calkins said. Court papers reference other stolen items, including a framed picture of Inslee and Earvin “Magic” Johnson and two necklaces. High value items, such as computers and cameras were passed up by the burglars, Calkins said.
“We don’t think they knew it was the Governor’s Office,” Calkins said.
WSP Sergeant Matt Wood was the trooper who broke the case late Monday night, when he pulled over a Subaru that had passed him on Interstate 5 in Chehalis at about 78 miles per hour, WSP Assistant Chief Chris Gundermann said. During the stop shortly before midnight, Wood noticed the distinctive ceremonial WSP campaign hat worn by troopers. Wood had been briefed earlier on Monday about the specific items that were reported stolen, and he “put two and two together” when he saw the hat, Gunderman said.
The trooper also saw the bottle of wine that had been stolen from Inslee’s office, now empty and lying on the floor of the suspect’s vehicle, Gunderman said.
WSP detectives arrested the second female suspect on Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle, according to Calkins. She will appear before a Thurston County Superior Court judge on Wednesday.
The first suspect, who was pulled over Monday night, a 22-year-old woman from Beaverton, Oregon, had her first appearance before a judge Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court. The 22-year-old, Emily Huntzicker, was ordered held on suspicion of second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree possession of stolen property Tuesday.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy set Huntzicker’s bail at $2,000. She also ordered that Huntzicker stay away from the Capitol Campus. Huntzicker has no prior arrest record.
Huntzicker told a detective she and her friend entered the Governor’s office through an open window, and “just started taking stuff,” court papers state.
The burglary itself noticed on the morning of June 16, when a trooper cadet assigned to the Legislative Building noticed that the ceremonial WSP campaign hat was missing. The cadet immediately reviewed surveillance video from the Governor’s Office and found that two female suspects had entered the office through a window.
The window the burglars entered is about two floors up, Calkins said. “They had to boost each other up and “shimmy up a ledge” to reach the window, Calkins said.
Calkins said Tuesday that the patrol is still investigating whether the window was unlatched, or whether the suspects broke the lock.
The patrol did not publicize the burglary because they did not want to alert the suspects and give them the opportunity to destroy evidence, Calkins said. “In this case, it seemed to work,” Calkins added. Detectives found fingerprints believed to belong to the suspects, but neither of the suspects’ prints had been previously entered into any law enforcement databases.
Inslee’s spokesman, David Postman, confirmed that the suspects were in the Governor’s Office during the burglary. “The governor’s certainly aware of it,” he said. “But it’s nothing that’s shook anyone here.” Postman deferred further comment to the State Patrol.
Calkins said the first female suspect who was arrested Monday night gave a full confession.
Calkins commended the WSP detectives who worked on the case for solving the crime quickly. In particular, he commended Sgt. Wood for alertly recognizing the stolen WSP campaign hat in the suspect’s car, and the cadet for noticing it was missing on June 16.
“It’s certainly disconcerting that this could happen at all,” Calkins said.