Tracks left in a pile of used kitty litter led to the weekend arrest of an alleged cat burglar, authorities said Monday.
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Juneau police, who have been investigating a string of 17 burglaries that have taken place since the beginning of the year, said the department got a break-in call on Wednesday.
A homeowner on Tee Way noticed a ladder propped up against a bathroom window and an unfamiliar vehicle parked nearby. Entering the home, he heard a commotion near the back of the house and saw a light-colored Ford Bronco drive away.
Police located the vehicle less than an hour later at a residence near 19.5 mile Glacier Highway and contacted 18-year-old Brendan Doyle, the registered owner.
Sgt. Dave Campbell said a search warrant was obtained for clothing items containing evidence of cat litter or feline feces.
"The homeowner on Tee Way had an area where they dumped used cat litter," Campbell said Monday. "When Mr. Doyle fled out the back of the residence he fled through the used cat litter."
Police seized the Ford Bronco and recovered property at Doyle's home that was allegedly taken from the house on Tee Way, Campbell said.
"We did recover some items from that residence that had fecal matter on them," Campbell said.
Doyle was arrested Saturday on a charge of first-degree burglary. Police are continuing their investigation into the other burglaries.
"We are still in the process of looking into the 17 burglaries that we've had since the beginning of the year to see if there are any similarities," he said.
Doyle matches a previously released description of a suspect, and many of the crimes have the same modus operandi, Campbell said.
"Some of the similarities we saw, they were generally burglaries of residences during the day, which is common," he said.
The burglarized homes were typically out of view from roadways and were generally unlocked, Campbell said.
"Medication was stolen along with cash and small, easily carried electronics," he said.
People should remain cautious of potential criminal activity in their neighborhoods, Campbell said. It is a good idea to keep doors locked and to write down serial numbers of valuables such as firearms and electronics, he said.
"It would still be in people's best interest to remember that there are criminals here," Campbell said.
Eric Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.