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Suspect in theft of assault rifle from Arlington-area home caught on camera

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ARLINGTON -- Forest Howard was at work when his alarm company called him.

A thief had set it off, breaking into his home a couple miles outside Arlington, at 1:14 p.m. on a recent Friday.

"This guy's in ... view of all my neighbors and he's that brazen," said Howard.

His surveillance camera caught the man on video walking across his yard and right up to his windows.

"I'm assuming he looked really closely back there to where the bedrooms were at."

The crook used a screwdriver to break into the garage through a door and from there was able to get into the home where he found Howard's AR-15.

"Unfortunately, I'd shown it to a friend and I'd left the gun on my bed the night before and fell asleep on the couch. I'm kicking my own butt for not being safe or even having a gun safe for that matter," he said.

It's a tough lesson to learn and one of the reasons he's sharing what happened.

The other is to help Snohomish County detectives identify the thief.

The video showed a suspect walking away with the rifle stuck down his pants.

Detective Margaret Ludwig with the North Snohomish County Property Crimes unit says she is seeing more homeowners like Howard with surveillance systems.

"They`re tired of these people breaking into their houses and if they don`t have serial numbers or surveillance video, usually their stuff doesn`t get recovered," said Ludwig.

She's hoping somebody recognizes the burglar but wishes people would get higher-quality cameras and that they are positioned correctly.

"You want to place the cameras at an angle where you can clearly see that person`s face," she said.

Howard plans to move his cameras lower and to make it more clear to anyone who comes onto his property that they are under surveillance.

"I need to get little signs and put them on the windows that look obvious," said Howard.

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information on the suspect's identity. If you know his name, call the hotline anonymously at 1-800-222-tips or submit your tip online at http://www.catchwmw.com

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2 comments

  • dg54321

    Not an assault rifle, and of course the criminal is at fault, but leaving your rifle out in plain view…..just not smart man. Glad this at least compelled him to get a safe, finally. At least he realizes the gravity of his error.