It turns out that stashing stolen cars in the garage of a foreclosed home isn't such a good idea, especially when agents from the bank show up to winterize the place.
A Port Orchard man was arrested Tuesday after reports of a burglary in progress at 1028 Bethell Ave., a vacant single-family residence in foreclosure. The home is shielded from the street by the Pancake House, but when folks from the bank that own the house came to check things out they discovered a man inside that took off running.
Port Orchard resident Terrance Puglisi, 45, who also goes by other aliases, was ultimately arrested after officers found probable cause for two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools, possession of meth and less than 40 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The burglary call came in at 11:05 a.m. and Port Orchard police flooded the area and set up a perimeter almost immediately. Port Orchard Police Department Commander Geoffrey Marti said that Puglisi, at one point, ran through the front door and out the back door of Peninsula Community Federal Credit Union before fleeing behind the Dollar Store in the High Point Shopping Center.
As officers were closing in on him, they found an abandoned backpack that contained a hatchet and a screwdriver. A short time later, they found Puglisi lying on the ground behind a large tree.
Puglisi was transported back to the residence where officers discovered that the garage had been forced open, likely with the hatchet found in the backpack. Inside, they found two stolen vehicles. The first was a 1993 Chevy K-1500 pickup that was reported stolen from Big O Tires, located at 851 Bethel Ave., at 7:16 a.m. Monday. The second was a 1996 Ford Astro van that was reported stolen from Novus Auto Glass, located at 851 Bethel Ave., on Sat., Oct. 27.
Both vehicles had smashed windows and busted steering columns. Identifying markers associating the vehicles with the business were also covered with red paint.
"He used a can of paint and a spatula, so it was a very good paint job," Commander Marti noted.
Marti said that Puglisi made some incriminating statements, but it's not clear if others might have been involved in the auto thefts and an investigation is ongoing. He also credited the citizens that stumbled upon the burglary.
"It was an outstanding job of the poeple that went to the home," he said. "The chances of us catching him would have been really hard without them; not only calling police right away, but watching where he went and directing officers without trying to confront the suspect. It led to him being taken into custody within minutes of leaving the house."