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Fast burglary in North Bend leads to high-speed freeway chase

A quick burglary of a rural North Bend home Tuesday afternoon was followed by a quick arrest and a 90-mph chase on Interstate 90 before both suspects were apprehended.

The suspects, a 37-year-old Renton woman and 33-year-old Renton man, were arrested on charges of burglary, forgery and theft of a firearm, in an incident that began around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

That's about the time that the victims, a couple in their 80s, returned to their home in the 12800 block of 412th Avenue S.E. after a short time out. They noticed several items missing when they returned, including their checkbook, some jewelry, and a .357 Magnum handgun. They began making calls, starting with the police.

"The homeowners were really smart, and started calling their banks immediately," said Sgt. Mark Toner, North Bend's chief of police, who took the report.

Within 30 minutes, while Toner was still at the couple's home, the bank called to notify them that a woman had attempted to cash one of the stolen checks at the Snoqualmie Ridge IGA. Toner asked Snoqualmie Police to arrest the woman, and when they arrived at the store, a nearby Sheriff's detective in an unmarked car observed her accomplice suddenly leave the parking lot, in a silver Saturn SUV.

"He happened to be on our air (radio band) and heard everything," Toner explained.

The detective followed the car onto westbound I-90, and alerted the Sammamish Police, who were waiting for the suspect in two marked cars at the exit 18 on-ramp.

"That's when the pursuit began," said Toner, who had also been following the suspect.

The suspect, in an attempt to flee police, began passing traffic on the shoulder of the road. He also avoided a spike-strip trap, then swung wildly across all lanes to exit the freeway onto northbound I-405. There, he drove a short distance, then pulled over and surrendered without any more resistance.

In all, officers from the Washington State Patrol and deputies and detectives from North Bend, Sammamish, and Seattle were involved in the pursuit and capture of the second suspect. King County's Guardian One helicopter followed the pursuit from the air, allowing officers to back off for safety's sake, and recording much of the chase. The video is available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9aqPC7pPz8&feature=plcp.

The two suspects were wanted on warrants in several jurisdictions, Toner said.

The stolen checkbook was recovered from the woman, and the remaining stolen items were expected to be found in a search of the suspects' vehicle.

 

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