A 22-year-old man caught Tuesday burglarizing a Pasco home allegedly broke into another house earlier in the day, but was interrupted when the residents returned.
Josue Enrique Contreras was arrested Tuesday afternoon following a 3 1/2-hour standoff with Pasco police at his nearby home, and booked into the Franklin County jail.
Bail was set at $50,000 during his first appearance Wednesday in Franklin County Superior Court.
Judge Carrie Runge found probable cause to hold Contreras on two counts of residential burglary and one count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, all felonies.
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According to court documents, Ernesto Lopez and his brother returned to their 413 N. Third Ave. home Tuesday morning to find the front door had been kicked in and some of their possessions were missing.
Lopez called 911 to report the break-in, but officers couldn't respond because they were tied up with a burglary in progress at 323 N. Second Ave., documents said.
Police had been sent to the Second Avenue home at 10:29 a.m. after a motorist reported to dispatchers that he'd seen a man pacing back and forth in a suspicious manner. The caller said that after he passed by, he saw the man jump the fence at that address.
Officers arrived to find a basement window open and the screen removed. They were in the process of surrounding the home when the window closed, then someone peeked out before shutting the blinds, court documents said.
Officers yelled to the person to exit the house, and that's when Contreras "came out with his hands up and appeared to be giving up," documents said.
Guns were pointed at Contreras and he was just about to be taken into custody when he took off running, jumping fences from yard to yard to avoid police capture until he reached his own home at 205 W. Bonneville St. This time he refused to come out.
Police got a warrant to go into the house and arrest him. They broke down the back door at 11:45 a.m., but quickly backed out when Contreras allegedly stepped out holding a .22-caliber rifle to his head and yelled that he would shoot himself if they came any farther.
When patrol officers could not talk Contreras into giving himself up, the Tri-City Regional SWAT Team was called in and negotiated a surrender at 1:50 p.m.
Contreras was taken to the Pasco police station where, in an interview with Detective Scott Warren, he admitted to having a drug problem, court documents said.
Contreras told Warren he first went to the Third Avenue home, knocked on the front door and then kicked it in, documents said. He allegedly piled up items he was planning to steal, but had to take off once he heard someone coming in the back door.
However, he claims he loaded a backpack with some belongings from the home, then stashed the bag while walking along Shoshone Street before reaching Second Avenue.
The court documents state that Contreras watched the owners of the second home leave, so he hopped over the fence and got in through the basement window.
"Next thing he remembers is seeing all the cops everywhere," Warren wrote in the documents. Contreras allegedly panicked and decided to give up, but changed his mind once outside and started running with police in pursuit.
At his own house, Contreras said he changed clothes thinking the cops no longer would come after him. He decided to turn himself in upon seeing SWAT was there and after calling other family members, documents said.
Prosecutors have until Friday afternoon to file charges against Contreras or release him from jail. If charged, he will return to court Tuesday to enter a plea.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org