Washington’s Most Wanted viewer helps police catch suspected serial burglar in Tacoma

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Michael Leair

TACOMA – A man accused of breaking into numerous homes all over Tacoma pleaded not guilty in Pierce County court on Monday and is being held on $500,000 bail.

Michael Leair was caught after Q13 FOX/Washington’s Most Wanted viewers spotted him leaving a pawn shop in a vehicle and called in tips to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County describing the make, model and license plate number.

Gang unit detectives later spotted the vehicle on Portland Ave. and took Leair into custody.  He has been charged with six counts of residential burglary in Pierce County and one in King County.

“We’ve charged Michael Leair for burglarizing homes all over Tacoma,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We are working hard with law enforcement to stop repeat burglars. He is part of the 10 percent who are causing 90 percent of the thefts.”

Tacoma police say Leair forced his way into houses between July 23 and Sept. 22.

“We do know that he is considered violent. In one of the burglaries, he was able to steal many guns,” said Tacoma police spokesperson Loretta Cool.

Detectives said Leair is the suspect seen on surveillance video breaking into a retired couple’s home in East Tacoma on Sept. 19. They were vacationing in Oregon when their alarm company notified them of a break-in.

Surveillance video showed Leair running from their house with a pillow case full of jewelry.

“I had a pearl necklace and bracelet and earrings that my husband gave me when we got married, and then a lot of sentimental things that I`ve received over the years from my children and things like that,” said the woman who lives there, but asked not to be named.

Leair is the 697th attributable to by Washington’s Most Wanted Capture.