Port Angeles man charged in ‘smash and grab’ at pawn shop

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles man suspected of being one of at least two people who broke into a pawn shop on First Street will be arraigned today on multiple charges related to the “smash and grab” burglary.

Bret Miles Dotson, 29, has been charged with one count of first-degree burglary and two counts each of theft of a firearm and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm after allegedly breaking into EZ Pawn at 113 W. First St. on May 11 and stealing two handguns and several pieces of jewelry.

Dotson is expected to be arraigned in Clallam County Superior Court today at 9 a.m.

Port Angeles police suspect that Dotson and at least one other person broke through the glass door of the pawn shop in the early morning hours of May 11 and made off with more than 100 pieces of jewelry, ranging in value from $40 to $1,500, and two .45-caliber guns.

Similar burglary

Police are still investigating a similar burglary at the Radio Shack at 1940 E. First St. that occurred in the early morning hours of May 8 in which thieves stole several iPods and two laptop computers.

Officers are investigating both burglaries as connected, though they have not uncovered evidence tying Dotson to the Radio Shack break-in.

As part of the Radio Shack burglary, police were looking for a dark-colored early 1990s Honda Accord that surveillance footage showed driving away from the electronics store at about the time the burglary occurred.

Police reports gave this account of how Dotson was found and arrested in connection with the pawn shop burglary:

Officers, already responding to a separate call May 11, were dispatched to a reported break-in at the pawn shop and saw a black Kia Sportage SUV driving east on First Street near the pawn shop with its headlights off.

10-minute chase

Responding officers attempted to stop the Kia, but the SUV driver continued driving and led police on a 10-minute chase that ended with the pursuing officers losing the Kia on a small residential street off Mount Angeles Road.

The Kia later was found abandoned in a parking lot at the intersection of Eighth and Francis streets with stolen property inside matching that missing from the pawn shop.

Police tracked the occupants of the vehicle using police K-9 Bogey to a home in the 500 block of East Eighth Street where Dotson is known to stay.

Police searched the home after obtaining a warrant and said they found numerous items stolen from the pawn shop, including two handguns, rings, bracelets, jewelry and a coin valued at $1,325.

Burglary aftermath

Brian Winters, manager of EZ Pawn, said the glass door broken in during the burglary cost about $3,000 to replace, not including the six hours to clean up broken glass.

Winters said he’s looking to buy metal shutters that can be closed at night but can still be seen through.

“So it doesn’t look like a war zone or downtown L.A.,” Winters said, adding that the May 11 burglary was EZ Pawn’s first.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 23. 2013 5:47PM
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