On March 28, 2013 the Bellevue Special Enforcement Team (SET) arrested a prolific regional burglary suspect, Andy Max Ellis (28), and recovered massive amounts of stolen property, guns and drugs. A total of seven guns were recovered, multiple guitars, musical instruments, jewelry, 59 grams of methamphetamine, and 4.5 pounds of marijuana. Detectives are still sifting through the recovered items and identifying owners.
Bellevue Chief Linda Pillo said, "This is an excellent example of regional law enforcement working together to solve crime." Tacoma Police, Gig Harbor Police and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office assisted Bellevue in the investigation and in serving the search and arrest warrants.
SET developed information identifying Ellis as a suspect in multiple burglaries throughout King and Pierce County. He became increasingly brazen with his burglaries and bragged about doing occupied burglaries at night and watching residents sleep.
Probable cause was developed on Ellis for a recent burglary in Gig Harbor where a large amount of jewelry and a gun were taken. A SET Detective applied for an arrest warrant for Ellis and a search warrant for his apartment in the Commencement Terrace Apartments in Tacoma.
Ellis was arrested, along with two others, Paul M. Valencia (31) and a 30 year-old male yet to be charged, last Thursday morning during a high risk traffic stop in Tacoma. Burglary tools and two ounces of methamphetamine were taken into evidence. Tacoma Police Department assisted in the stop. All suspects are Tacoma residents.
Bellevue SWAT, Tacoma PD, Gig Harbor PD and Pierce County Sheriff’s Office assisted Bellevue detectives with the search of Ellis’s apartment. During the search, detectives recovered property linking Ellis to six recent burglaries including the firearm taken in the Gig Harbor burglary. They also discovered a marijuana grow room in the apartment. Ellis’s roommate, a 28-year-old male, who was home during the search, was arrested for Possession of a Stolen Firearm and Possession of Methamphetamine. He has not been charged.
During interviews, Ellis cooperated and confessed to over 100 burglaries in the region within the last eight months and at least four in Bellevue. Prior to being booked into King County Jail, he showed detectives homes in Bellevue that he burglarized. Valencia confessed to being the driver in burglaries in Bellevue along West Lake Sammamish Blvd, Newcastle and Issaquah. More locations are still being identified. Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Bellevue and Pierce County will all clear several cases as a result of these arrests.
King County prosecutors filed charges against Ellis for eight counts of Residential Burglary and two counts of Theft of a Firearm. Charges filed against Valencia were two counts of residential Burglary and one count of Theft of a Firearm. Additional charges are pending on all suspects.
SET uses a proactive approach on specific crimes committed in Bellevue. The team responds to repeat crime patterns, such as residential burglary and auto theft through plainclothes surveillance of targeted areas. The team conducts surveillance on active criminals and fugitives and coordinates with proactive units of other agencies to help address multi-jurisdictional offenders.
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