Man found in woods faces burglary and theft charges

By Cali Bagby

Journal editor

A man found living in the woods is suspected of a rash of burglaries on San Juan Island. While the alleged crime spree is reminiscent of the Barefoot Bandit, there could be a more sinister element.

Chase Eric Stoddard, 21, of Olympia, Wash., has been charged with crimes that allegedly occurred between the dates of Sept. 1 2015 and Jan. 22, 2016. Stoddard is facing four counts of residential burglary and three counts of theft in the third degree. Stoddard also has an active warrant out for rape of a child in the first degree in Thurston County.

On Jan. 10, the sheriffs office investigated a report of burglary and theft of a home, where it is believed that Stoddard entered through an unlocked window. According to the officer’s report, a person other than the homeowner was in the house for some time cooking meals, watching TV and stole money.

Five days later, the sheriff’s office investigated another burglarized  residence in walking distance from the home mentioned above. The deputy reported that a person  broke into the residence, a trailer, and stole several items. Another nearby owner reported a break-in of his Yurt. It was reported that a strange message was left in the Yurt guest book signed by “Chase.”

The deputy also found what appeared to be an abandoned cabin in the area that appeared to be occupied by a person. The homeowners could not be located at that time.

Further investigation by the sheriff’s office revealed that Stoddard had posted on his Facebook that he was living in a cabin and posted pictures that could potentially link him to the area of the burglary.

On Jan. 22, two deputies located Stoddard inside the cabin. According to the deputy’s report Stoddard admitted to three of the burglaries and that he did not have permission to stay at the cabin. Numerous items from the burglaries were found in the cabin by deputies.

Bail is set at $10,000. An arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 5.