Crime

Crawling in the attic didn't save him from arrest

McClatchy

A 25-year-old transient man was arrested after he broke a no-contact order, refused to leave a woman's residence and crawled into an attic to avoid police — who went in after him.

Kyle Austin Berard was arrested Thursday on suspicion of violating a domestic violence protection order, second-degree malicious mischief of more than $750, obstructing a police officer and resisting arrest.

Minutes before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Bellingham police were called to the 5800 block of Pacific Rim Way for a man, later identified as Berard, who was violating a domestic violence order. Berard was allegedly cutting himself and bleeding, according to Lt. Danette Beckley, with Bellingham police.

Before officers arrived, a woman inside was able to get out of her apartment, but Berard stayed behind. Officers tried to talk him into leaving the apartment, but got no response, Beckley said.

Officers then forced their way into the apartment past barricades Berard had made of wood, Beckley said. He didn’t respond to officers’ calls saying he was under arrest and to show himself, Beckley said.

When officers got inside, Berard wasn’t there — but they noticed insulation underneath the attic crawl space. Officers threw a pepper ball into the attic, but Berard still didn’t respond, Beckley said.

The officers then crawled into the attic where Berard was found and arrested.

Beckley said it was unclear why Berard was at the apartment. The woman declined to answer questions because she didn’t want to get Berard into trouble, Beckley said.

Besides breathing in pepper from the pepper ball, the officers involved were unharmed.

“When we have a call like that, it takes time to safely and methodically bring it to a successful resolution,” Beckley said. “We want everyone to be safe.”

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt
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