Deputiesbust up burglary gang

Published on Thu, Oct 27, 2005 by eg Olson

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Deputies bust up burglary gang

By Meg Olson

Sheriff deputies raided a house on the outskirts of Blaine and broke up a burglary ring that has been preying on construction sites and new homes.

Chief Jeff Parks with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s office said that on October 9 deputies responded to a tip of stolen tools at 3664 Birch Terrace Drive, north of Birch Bay-Lynden Road west of the railroad tracks. After making contact with property resident Thomas Johnson, 19, and Blaine resident Michael Hamman, 21, deputies discovered a 2004 Interstate cargo trailer stolen from a Lynden construction site.

The discovery of the trailer got the sheriff’s office a warrant to search the house, where they had to break through several locked doors. Behind one they found Clinton Berry, 18, hiding with a 16-year-old juvenile runaway. In that room deputies found several guns in the closet and almost 100 construction tools.

In the course of the search deputies found and seized hundreds of tools stacked around the house and have successfully linked some of it to seven recent burglaries in the county. They anticipate linking the group with up to 20 burglaries in the last two months.

Berry, Hamman and Johnson were arrested on first-degree felony charges of possessing stolen property. The juvenile was turned over to his mother and has not yet been charged, but Parks said he had admitted to participating in several burglaries. Additional arrests are pending.

Sheriff’s deputies also raided a Ferndale home October 13, arresting five people in connection with an unrelated string of burglaries. The raids led to the recovery of over $50,000 in stolen property.