Homeless man in Oak Harbor accused of stealing truck, dog

A homeless man accused of stealing a truck with a dog inside in Oak Harbor last week caused a ruckus in Island County Superior Court the next day.

Ryan D. Burchell, 45, appeared in court via a video link from the county jail. Judge Alan Hancock found probable cause existed to believe he committed the crimes of theft of a motor vehicle and malicious mischief.

Burchell got more and more upset throughout the hearing and continually interrupted, which isn’t allowed under courtroom rules. He directed his ire at the judge and prosecutor, telling the judge at one point he will “disrobe you forever.”

Morgan Gierhart with Island Defense said she tried speaking with her client before the hearing but was unable to get any information from him.

The police report indicates that Burchell has an extensive criminal history in California.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Eric Ohme recommended that Burchell’s bail be set at $25,000 and that he be evaluated by a mental health professional for possible for commitment before being released; Hancock agreed.

According to the police report, a resident reported that his red 2011 Ford Ranger had been stolen while he was getting a haircut.

The man said his dog was inside the truck.

The police officer noted in his report that Burchell had been in the area before the thefts and left a large amount of personal belongings near the store.

Based on a tip, the police found the truck parked on Barlow Street; they watched Burchell get into it and drive away. The police pulled the truck over — with the dog inside — and arrested Burchell. The truck and the pooch were returned to their owner.

Burchell allegedly admitted that he “snatched” the truck but said he did so because he was getting shot at, the police report states.

In the city jail, Burchell took his clothes off and rammed the cell door with his body until the door was broken.

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