Oak Harbor burglary suspect has appetite for dirt, paint chips

A 32-year-old Oak Harbor man with an appetite for the unusual is facing a felony charge after being caught “rummaging around” in a woman’s storage shed, court documents state.

Prosecutors charged Michael B. Howard in Island County Superior Court March 12 with burglary. He could face up to a year in jail if convicted.

On March 8, an Oak Harbor resident called 911 after her dog alerted her to a man rifling through items in her backyard shed.

Officer Ronald Esparza and another officer responded to the woman’s home and watched the suspect, who they recognized as Howard, moving plastic bins around inside the shed. Howard had “a black cooking spoon” in one hand and a piece of metal in the other, according to Esparza’s report.

One of the officers arrested Howard, who claimed he was “just going through stuff” and that the property belonged to a friend, Esparza wrote. The officers found a bag of suspected marijuana in his pocket.

At the jail, Howard allegedly ate paint chips that he picked off the wall. Earlier in the evening, police officers contacted Howard as he was coming out of a wooded area near Southwest 24th Avenue. He had dirt around his mouth and told the officers that he had been eating dirt, according to the police report.


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