Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Nov. 30, 2022

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Clark County deputies arrest man accused in burglary of La Center house

Identifying evidence left in home leads to suspect, reports says

By , Columbian staff writer

Clark County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Thursday night after he allegedly burglarized a La Center house and then crashed his car as he drove away.

Deputies and Ridgefield police responded at 7:36 p.m. to reports of a residential burglary near West 15th Street and Pacific Highway in La Center. The homeowner saw on security cameras an unknown man enter his house, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

The burglar smashed the rear sliding glass door to get inside. He then took jewelry and other valuables before leaving, the sheriff’s office said.

A neighbor saw the burglary and attempted to follow the suspect when he left in a silver sedan. The burglar drove recklessly, and the neighbor was unable to continue following, the news release states.

Less than a minute later, the sheriff’s office said it received reports via 911 that a silver sedan had gone off the roadway at Northwest Pacific Highway and West 10th Street. Callers reported the driver walked away from the crash.

A Battle Ground police K-9 unit attempted to track the driver. Meanwhile, investigators at the burglary scene learned the suspect had left evidence behind that could be used to identify him, the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriff’s office tactical detectives identified the burglar as Christopher T. Gaetaniello, 45, the agency said. They learned Gaetaniello had a felony warrant for his arrest.

At 8:59 p.m., a deputy observed a man matching Gaetaniello’s description walking toward a Chevron gas station in La Center. He was detained without incident, and his identity was confirmed, the sheriff’s office said.

Gaetaniello was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of residential burglary, first-degree theft, second-degree malicious mischief and a U.S. Marshals Service warrant, the news release states.

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