Witnesses help track down bike-riding burglary suspect

SEQUIM, Wash. - A suspected burglar was tracked down and arrested after a witness saw him flee on a bicycle from an unoccupied home with a loaded suitcase and other witnesses reported the suspect's escape route, sheriff's officials reported.

The incident unfolded Friday afternoon when a family friend went to check on an unoccupied home just west of Sequim along Highway 101, said Detective Sgt. J. Keegan of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office.

When he arrived at the home, the friend saw that the garage door was halfway open and a yellow mountain bike was next to the garage.

As he entered the home, the family friend heard noises downstairs and caught a man in the act of putting items into a suitcase and zipping the suitcase closed. The friend yelled at the intruder, who then pushed past the friend and ran outside to the bicycle, Keegan said.

The friend then witnessed the suspect riding west on Highway 101 and called 911.

Responding deputies saw the suspect in the Agnew area, west of Sequim, and set up a perimeter with help from the Washington State Patrol, officers from the U.S. Border Patrol and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter.

The bicycle was found at the north end of Lewis Road and other witnesses reported seeing a man matching the suspect's description running through yards in the area.

Eventually another witness reported seeing a man walking from an unoccupied trailer to a vehicle that appeared to have arrived just to pick him up.

The vehicle was stopped by deputies a short time later on Highway 101. The passenger, William Weems, 35, of Port Angeles, was taken into custody.

Weems' clothing and appearance matched the suspect's description. During an interview with detectives, Weems admitted to being at the property but denied being inside the house, Keegan said.

The items that were stolen consisted mostly of tools and electronics. The estimated replacement cost of the items by the victim is more than $8,000.