By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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William Patrick Weems, 35, was booked into the Clallam County jail Friday for investigation of one count each of residential burglary and attempted first-degree theft, said Detective Sgt. John Keegan with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's deputies arrested Weems at about 5 p.m. Friday after pulling over a truck in which he was a passenger on U.S. Highway 101 near Bagley Creek Road, Keegan said.
A witness who called 9-1-1 had last seen Weems getting into the truck near Lewis Road, about 2½ miles to the east, Keegan said.
Deputies began the search after receiving a call at 12:41 p.m. from a friend of the owner of a vacant house on Highway 101 between Dryke and Barr roads, Keegan said.
Garage door open
The friend told police the friend had noticed the house's garage door was half open and, upon walking into the home, had found a strange man putting an estimated $8,000 worth of tools and electronics into a suitcase, Keegan said.
The friend yelled at the intruder, who pushed past him and ran to a bicycle he had left outside the house, Keegan said.
The man, who left the belongings and the suitcase when he ran, rode west on Highway 101.
Sheriff's deputies enlisted the help of State Patrol troopers, U.S. Border Patrol agents and a helicopter from the Port Angeles Coast Guard base that was flying over the area.
The helicopter wasn't called out specifically for the search, Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said. The Coast Guard had one in the air and diverted it to assist deputies.
“They gave us whatever time they could afford with their fuel,” Peregrin said.
Deputies adjusted the search area, which went as far west at times as Lewis Road and as far east as Matson Road, based on witness reports of a man matching the description of a man running through yards, Keegan said.
Emergency alert system
Keegan said the Sheriff's Office was just about to release an alert to residents in the area via EverBridge, the county's emergency alert system, when a resident called 9-1-1 to report a man matching the burglar's description getting into a truck that appeared to have arrived to pick the man up near Lewis Road and Highway 101.
Keegan said the driver of the vehicle was not arrested.
“We don't believe [the driver] had any knowledge he was rendering any criminal assistance,” Keegan said.
No assaults or injuries were reported in connection with the search, Keegan said, and Weems was arrested without incident.
Weems later told investigators he had been at the property that had been broken into but denied being inside.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing Editor/News Leah Leach contributed to this report.