(UPDATED THURSDAY NIGHT with new charge filed)
(WSB photo of February 15th arrest scene at 48th/Findlay)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Two recent burglary arrests reported here – exactly one week apart – involve the same suspect, WSB has learned. And court documents say he has confessed to more than 20 other break-ins.
The first arrest was at 48th and Findlay in Seaview, on February 15th. Police arrested 24-year-old Justin Wood for allegedly trying to break into a house there. Court documents say Wood told police that day that he had committed other burglaries, as noted in our two updates last week – in the February 20th WSBeat roundup and our February 21st report on last week’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.
We don’t know why Wood wasn’t booked into jail on February 15th. But we do know now that exactly one week later – last Friday, February 22nd – he was arrested on suspicion of breaking into a home near Camp Long (here’s our report from that day), caught after an alert neighbor called police. This time, Wood was booked into jail – after confessing to more burglaries, none of them, court documents say, covered in the previous confession.
Yesterday, after five days in jail, Wood appeared before King County Superior Court Judge Ronald Kessler, who agreed to set what by any account is an extraordinary bail amount for a property-crime case: Half a million dollars.
While Wood has not yet been charged in the recent burglaries, we are identifying him by name because of the report that he has confessed and because he already was charged in another case – a Morgan Junction burglary last October. Before that, according to court documents, Wood’s history included 2009 charges of theft and trafficking stolen property, which led to a conviction on a lesser charge. According to documents from the October case, Wood was tracked down via fingerprints, and arrested at a Genesee Hill residence in November. Jail records show that his bail was set at $5,000 and he got out less than 24 hours after he was booked.
Now, he’s jailed in lieu of a hundred times that. While charges haven’t been filed in connection with either of this month’s cases, we have a message out to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to find out if there’s an estimate on when that might happen; court records show that Wood was scheduled for a hearing today related to the October burglary, and we’re keeping an eye out for results of that.
Meantime, in case you are wondering – so far as we know, this has no relation to the case reported here on WSB last night, also expected to solve multiple burglaries, though we did come across the new information on this case while talking with police about the other one.
ADDED 9:21 PM: Checking the online case files one more time before they go offline for the night, we discovered that prosecutors charged Wood today with one count of attempted burglary for the 35th SW incident last Friday. They are asking that his bail remain set at half a million dollars, explaining in the charging document:
… the defendant is a serious threat to the West Seattle community and now faces significant jeopardy on numerous charges.
… On February 15, 2013, the defendant was arrested for another Residential Burglary. During the investigation of that case, the defendant confessed to 10 burglaries in West Seattle. The defendant was released from custody on the February 15, 2013, case, and only a week later, was arrested on February 22, 2013, for the Attempted Residential Burglary charged in (the document). During the investigation of that case, the defendant confessed to an additional 13 burglaries in West Seattle, none of which duplicated his earlier confession. The defendant showed officers the location of each burglary and provided specific details about each crime.
In total, Seattle PD is now investigating 24 residential burglaries that the defendant committed in West Seattle from September 2012 to present. At least three of those burglaries involved a theft of firearms. Seattle PD is in the process of investigating all of these cases and contacting the victims and will forward these cases to the prosecutor’s office for filing when the investigation is complete.
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