The search for a laptop stolen near Olympic Stadium led the Hoquiam Police Department to the home of an allegedly prolific car prowler in McCleary, Chief Jeff Myers said.
Troy N. Hodge, 26, has been charged with second-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree vehicle prowling, and may face additional felony charges of possession of stolen property, Myers said.
Hoquiam officers began investigating a vehicle prowl where a MacBook Pro laptop was taken from a car near Olympic Stadium May 25. Using an Apple tracking feature, officers located the computer in the 400 block of Second Street in McCleary, but were unable to pinpoint the exact location, Myers said.
Lacey Police Department officers recovered a MacBook Pro during a traffic stop June 3. When the evidence custodian looked for information identifying an owner, data related to Hodge, who lives in the 400 block of Second Street, came up instead.
“When Lacey PD contacted Hodge about the MacBook, he was evasive and did not seem to know much about it, which raised the suspicions of the officers,” Myers said.
The officers then found the Hoquiam report involving the stolen MacBook, Myers said. Detective David Blundred applied for a search warrant for Hodge’s home and on June 9, when they saw the victim’s wallet in Hodge’s vehicle, they impounded it and got another search warrant.
“During the course of the two search warrants, detectives recovered identification, driver licenses, wallets, credit cards, checkbooks, vehicle titles, cell phones, keys, garage door openers, tools, battery chargers, clothing and personal information belonging to numerous victims,” Myers said.
Detectives also recovered “shaved keys,” or keys ground down to fit various ignitions, organized by car brand, along with about a thousand keys to various vehicles, lock boxes, homes, padlocks and safes. The suspect’s vehicle also had various vehicle key fobs, garage door openers, slim jims and other vehicle entry devices, Myers added.
So far, Hoquiam detectives have been able to link the recovered items to at least 16 additional vehicle prowls from Aberdeen to Olympia to Centralia.
“Detectives believe Hodge traveled around the region in his vehicle, a black 1994 Honda Civic, whereby he engaged in vehicle prowls of cars parked in public parking lots,” Myers said. “It appeared Hodge traveled to different areas at different times; therefore many of these crimes were not linked until now.”
The Hoquiam Police Department has submitted a statewide bulletin to notify other law enforcement agencies of the information.
Detectives are continuing to work to identify additional victims. Hodge is held in Grays Harbor County Jail with $25,000 bail.