Residents alerted about burglar hiding in area

A 33-year-old man stole two cars, burglarized two homes, led a high-speed chase and more.

During a 15-hour crime spree on Whidbey over the weekend, a 33-year-old man stole two cars, burglarized two homes, led a deputy on a high-speed chase, stole iced tea and slept in the woods overnight, according to court documents.

During the search for the suspect, the county’s Department of Emergency Management issued a cell phone alert to a Greenbank neighborhood to warn residents about a fugitive in the area.

The suspect, Christopher Allen, eventually came out of hiding and sat on a resident’s porch, where he was arrested at taser-point, according to a report by a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office. He allegedly told the resident that he was sick from coming off heroin and depressed because of difficulties in his life.

Allen appeared in Island County Superior Court Monday. Judge Carolyn Cliff found probable cause existed to believe he may have committed the crimes of two counts of theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of residential burglary and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

Cliff set Allen’s bail at $75,000, noting that the police report describes a “terrifying sequence of events.”

“It appeared to be simply blind luck that someone wasn’t hurt during this course of the event,” she said.

The sheriff’s office received the first 911 call about Allen at 7 a.m. on July 5.

A deputy responding to the theft of a 2014 Dodge Avenger spotted the car traveling south on Highway 20 near the intersection with Libbey Road. The deputy pulled the car over, drew his pistol and ordered the driver, later identified as Allen, to place his hands out the window.

While the deputy was approaching the car, Allen suddenly “yanked” his hands inside the vehicle and drove off, the deputy wrote in a report. The deputy pursued the vehicle as it reached speeds of more than 100 mph and passed other vehicles, nearly causing a head-on crash near the “cow crater,” the report states. The deputy ended the pursuit for safety reasons.

The deputy contacted the North Whidbey woman who had reported the stolen car. She told the deputy that she was home with a baby when a “dirty” man rang her doorbell. She didn’t answer because she was concerned about being alone with a strange man, but then Allen opened the door and started to walk into the house, the deputy wrote.

The woman confronted Allen and ordered him to leave. Soon afterward, she realized her car, which she had left running, had disappeared.

A few hours later, a resident of Barr Road in Freeland reported that a man abandoned the stolen car and walked away. A resident of Admiralty Way reported that the man walked into her yard and said weird things. Deputies who arrived in the area could hear someone walking in the woods and searched for more than two hours, but they didn’t find Allen.

At 3:20 p.m., a resident who lived on a lane off of Admiralty Way reported that his blue Toyota 4Runner SUV had been stolen. The man said an intruder, later identified as Allen, broke into his house through a window. He said he startled Allen, who got away with car keys and two pitchers of iced tea from the refrigerator, the report states.

Allen stole the SUV, backed into a tractor and then drove off; the collision caused extensive damage to the vehicle, the report states.

At just after 3:30 p.m., a Greenbank resident reported that a man left the stolen SUV in her driveway and ran off into the woods. At that point, the deputy contacted the Department of Emergency Management and asked for an alert to be broadcast to citizens in the area.

Just before 9 p.m., a Greenbank resident reported that a strange man tried to open her back door. She screamed at the man, and he ran away.

The next morning, another Greenbank resident reported that Allen was on her porch. She said her brother gave Allen water and a cigarette and was talking to him; Allen told the man that he had slept in the woods all night but was not able to move because he was “heroin sick,” the report states.

Deputies arrived and arrested Allen.