OKANOGAN A man has been charged with 19 felonies after allegedly taking a vehicle, crashing it, and then burglarizing the nearby home of two deputy prosecuting attorneys.
Jordan Dean Whittle, 19, was arrested south of Okanogan on New Year’s Day. He remained in the Okanogan County Jail as of Monday.
Whittle is charged with one count each of theft of a motor vehicle, hit and run-property damage, third-degree driving while suspended/revoked, residential burglary, second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, second-degree malicious mischief and third-degree malicious mischief; nine counts of second-degree theft of an access device, and two counts of second-degree vehicle prowling.
Chelan County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Douglas Shae signed the information charging Whittle.
Prosecuting Attorney Karl Sloan said he asked the Chelan County Prosecutor’s Office to handle the case since two of his deputies were the alleged victims and he wants to avoid “any possible appearance of a conflict.”
Whittle, described as homeless in Superior Court documents, allegedly had been fired from his job because of drug use, and had gotten drunk and high on New Year’s Eve. His mother had dropped him off in Omak and he was walking around when he got into a sport-utility vehicle and found the keys in it, said a police report filed as a probable cause statement with the charges.
After allegedly hitting some mailboxes on West Bartlett Avenue with the vehicle, which belongs to Joshua Allenby of Douglas Street, Whittle allegedly entered the home of Jennifer Richardson and Steve Bozarth on West Cherry Avenue.
Both Richardson and Bozarth are deputy prosecutors for Okanogan County.
Okanogan County dispatch was notified and Omak Police officer Darren Duncan responded at 7:15 a.m.
“Steve told me he had gotten up and was walking through the kitchen when he saw a guy standing right in front of him,” Duncan’s report said.
“Steve said he lunged to grab the guy and (the man) took off running past him.”
The suspect allegedly lost a shoe on his way out of the house. Bozarth told the officer he chased the man northward on Cedar Street to West Dewberry Avenue, but lost sight of him.
Richardson told the officer she’d gone upstairs to get her daughter and the two of them went back downstairs to the living room, where they sat down.
That’s about the time Bozarth found the man in the kitchen, the report said.
The thief allegedly took cash and nine credit cards from the couple’s wallets; keys to their home, vehicles and office; a laptop, new digital camera and other items.
In addition, a bag of fertilizer allegedly was dumped into the gas tank of a motorcycle in their shop, Bozarth’s vehicle was rifled and Richardson’s was damaged, Duncan’s report said.
An estimated $2,520 worth of items were taken. An estimate to clean the motorcycle’s gas tank was $750; several hundred dollars worth of damage allegedly was done to Richardson’s car.
In a separate report, Sgt. Jeff Koplin wrote that Whittle and another man, Michael Bivins of Okanogan, allegedly had gone to the Bozarth-Richardson home about 1:30 p.m. New Year’s Day and returned items taken from them.
They had left by the time police arrived, but apparently had told Bozarth and Richardson they planned to go to the jail so Whittle could turn himself in.
Koplin contacted county dispatch and learned the two had been to the jail, but left when they learned there were no outstanding warrants for Whittle.
Police tracked them down at Bivins’ home at 1879 Old Highway 97, Okanogan. The other shoe allegedly was found there.
Koplin and detective Rusty Tallant went to Bivins’ home and arrested Whittle, who allegedly told Koplin that Bivins had convinced him to return the items.
The report also said Whittle allegedly committed another burglary Dec. 30.
No charges have been filed in that case.