A prosecutor argued this week that a man accused of breaking into two Richland apartments to steal valuables while the residents slept should stay behind bars because he's a threat to the community.
Timothy Leroy Webster, 42, had his bail set at $5,000 for the Aug. 3 incidents, which also allegedly included two nearby businesses.
Judge Vic VanderSchoor ordered that amount after Webster's attorney, Ryan Swinburnson, said this apparently is his new client's first time in Benton County Superior Court with a felony.
Swinburnson also argued that it was a little much to say the public is at risk with Webster's release, since it looks like "this is an alleged one time" thing. The defendant is a longtime Tri-City resident and has a family, he added.
Deputy Prosecutor Emily Sullivan had asked for $10,000 bail, pointing out that Webster does have a lengthy criminal history and was carrying methamphetamine when he was caught.
Webster, of Richland, pleaded innocent to possession of meth and two counts each of residential burglary and second-degree burglary. Trial is set for Oct. 7.
A resident of the Water's Edge apartment complex was asleep in bed when she heard a noise in her room and opened her eyes to see a man looking through her dresser, according to court documents.
The woman jumped out of bed and asked the intruder what he was doing, documents said. The man, later identified as Webster, replied "nothing," even though he had some of the woman's belongings in his hands.
She told him to leave and he did. Missing items included a gold wrist watch.
A Richland police officer was talking to the woman when a neighbor at the 1876 Fowler St. complex contacted him and said she too had been victimized, court documents said.
The neighbor said she also found Webster rummaging through her bathroom and ordered him to leave, documents said.
A report came in about a burglar alarm going off at Consolidated Electrical Distributors, 1920 Fowler St., as police were leaving the apartments.
Officers arrived to find a roll-up door open on the back side of the building. They heard someone moving inside and saw Webster, who reportedly matched the burglar's description as given by the two women.
After being read his rights, Webster allegedly said he knew he shouldn't be there and that he had made a mistake. He also admitted that he'd been in another business down the street, but said he didn't remember going into any apartments, court documents said.
A witness reported seeing Webster at a business on Fowler throwing items over the fence, documents said.
Webster must not attempt to contact the two apartment residents while the case is pending.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer