North Whidbey farmer traps burglary suspects inside semi truck

The owner of a North Whidbey farm caught a couple of burglars by closing the door on a semi truck’s trailer and trapping the two men inside, court documents state.

Prosecutors charged one of the alleged burglars, 30-year-old Johnny Arellano of Coupeville, in Island County Superior Court Dec. 18, 2011, with burglary in the second degree. He pleaded not guilty Jan. 3.

The owner of Dugualla Bay Farms reported to an Island County Sheriff’s Office on Dec. 7 that the farm had been burglarized. He said an employee found muddy vehicle tracks leading to an area where agricultural equipment is stored.

The man found that 30 pipe fittings were missing and strapped to the top of a trailer. He suspected that the thieves were going to return and steal the entire trailer and its contents.

The farmer asked a deputy to set up surveillance on the trailer to catch the burglars, but the deputy explained that the office doesn’t have the manpower to watch the trailer.

The owner returned to the trailer at about 4 p.m. that day and heard voices inside a semi trailer. After watching the two people inside move items toward the door, the farmer quickly closed the door and detained the suspects.

Deputies arrived and found Arellano and Dustin Smith inside the trailer, according to the deputy’s report on the incident. Smith was arrested on outstanding warrants for theft and possession of burglary tools, court documents indicate.

If convicted of the charge, Arellano could face more than five years in prison under the standard sentencing range; his criminal record increases the sentencing range.

Arellano was released from jail Dec. 21 after posting $30,000 bail and then committed another burglary, according to court documents. But again, his attempt to get away with the crime was thwarted by a business owner, the police report indicates.

A couple of burglars stole 250 feet of wire from a spool at B & W Pump Company in Freeland. The owner had set up cameras that captured the two men and the small pickup they arrived in. Investigators identified one of the men as Arellano, according to the police report on the incident.

Prosecutors charged Arellano with second-degree burglary and second-degree theft on Jan. 12. He pleaded not guilty Jan. 23.


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