Suspected burglar captured after rooftop run from police

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 11:38 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 11:38 PM

Seattle Police say they caught a roof-jumping suspected burglar, with the help of the King County Sheriff's Office helicopter.  Now, we're hearing from the man whose house turned into a hideout.

It happened on November 1st in the Central District.

Investigators say a neighbor called 911 when he heard glass shattering at a nearby residence, saw two men he didn't know, and believed he was witnessing a burglary in progress.

Soon after, officers swarmed the neighborhood.

John Breithaupt, who has lived there only about five months, say the police activity quickly caught his attention.

"I just saw a police car drive by with their lights on so I got up to look," he said.  "Then I saw a guy like run by the side of our house.  So I went outside and asked the officer, did you guys send an officer into our yard?  And he said no, that was the suspect, so I was like, wow!"

What Breithaupt didn't realize is that the man police were looking for hadn't just run by his house, he had climbed on top of it.

Breithaupt says his landlord had been working on the roof recently, and left a ladder leaning against the side of the house.  He assumes that's how the suspect got to his perch on top of the roof.

The suspect remained out of sight of police officers on the ground, but the pilot of the sheriff's office helicopter spotted him quickly.

"He's now moved over to the south side - he jumped the house south of you, jumped to the roof south of you," the helicopter pilot can be heard telling officers down below.

Breithaupt says he had no idea the man was on his roof until he saw the video from the King County Sheriff's Office.

"Yeah, who knew," he said.  "The pitch of our roof is about 35 degrees, so it's really steep, and then
the next roof is a good six feet, so I'm not sure how he did that."

The next day, he learned the suspect had left behind a souvenir in the form of a grey hooded sweatshirt he shed while on the roof.

Breithaupt says he'll climb up and retrieve the sweatshirt sometime soon.  In the meantime, he's just glad the helicopter arrived when it did.

Seattle Police say the man jumped about four rooftops before he essentially reached the end of the block and ran out of running room.

The video shows about a half dozen officers surrounding that rooftop as the suspect surrenders.

He and an accomplice, a 20-year-old and 22-year-old, were booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Burglary. 

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