By Polly Keary, Editor
It was a short trip to the real world.
Five hours after he was released from jail on charges of vehicle theft, a Monroe man was back in jail again, this time for burglary.
At about 7:20 a.m. Thursday, officers responded to a call from Blakeley Street in which a citizen reported seeing a man climbing over the neighbor’s fence. When police arrived, they found very large footprints in the frost covering the grass.
As police investigated, they heard a loud crash and yelling nearby. When they approached, they found a property owner who said he had just been struggling with an intruder who had threatened him a knife. The intruder had fled with a large amount of Canadian coins.
Police brought in a police dog, but were unable to locate a suspect. However, as police continued to drive through the area, they spotted a man that they recognized; he had been arrested Jan. 1 for vehicle theft.
They already had an idea that the man was the person for whom they were looking.
“Upon closer inspection of the intruder’s footprints in the frozen grass, it was obvious that the footprints were extremely large, measuring nearly 16 inches in length,” an officer wrote in the report. “The only person that came to mind that would have that size of shoe and be committing burglaries in the area was Ben Pickrell.
Pickrell, who at 6-foot 9 and 230 pounds was hardly inconspicuous, saw the police car approaching and did a quick about-face, walking the other direction, but the officers stopped him. He admitted that he had a knife on him, and produced it. When the officers then asked him if he had any other weapons, he said, “Nope, just a bunch of change,” police said.
The officers asked if it happened to be Canadian change, whereupon Pickrell said, “yeah; how did you know?” according to police.
The property owner was brought over, and he said the man was the same person who had attacked him, threatened him with a knife and stolen his change.
Pickrell, 24, was arrested for first-degree burglary and taken back to jail. His size-16 shoes were put into evidence.
Also put into evidence were the contents of his pockets, which included debit and credit cards belonging to a Gold Bar woman, as well as a bag of meth, according to police.
Pickrell reportedly said that he knew police wouldn’t believe him, but he’d borrowed the pants, and the items weren’t his.
The Gold Bar woman later told police her car had been burglarized and her purse stolen while she was at a Monroe grocery store.
An additional six criminal counts, including possession of meth, possession of stolen property and vehicle theft, were added to his charges.
Sultan police believe the man may be responsible for as many as 26 more crimes in the upper Sky Valley.
Bail Friday was set at $125,000 in total.