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BREAKING NEWS Rash of local winter car prowls escalates

A La Conner business owner is the victim of a cold case that is just a few hours old.

The Skagit County Sheriff's Office is investigating a "smash and grab" break-in of Mari White-Bucy's Nissan Pathfinder near Calico Cupboard on First Street late Wednesday.

With temperatures plunging due to a winter blast of cold air, downtown was quiet last night – except for the sound of breaking glass from White-Bucy's vehicle.

Fortunately, White-Bucy believes nothing of value was taken.

But White-Bucy, who owns La Conner Waterfront Day Spa, will need to have her broken window replaced.

"I'm just really glad it didn't rain last night," she told the Weekly News.

It appeared that an attempted forced entry of another car parked nearby failed, White-Bucy said.

Numerous prior night-time car prowls had been reported here in the past couple weeks – perhaps resulting from COVID-19 anxiety – though those cases involved unlocked vehicles, said Sgt. Jeff Willard of the Skagit County Sheriff's Office La Conner Detachment.

"The suspect seemed to only be after valuables and was not interested in actually stealing the cars," Willard said on Tuesday. "Purses, wallets, change, and warm clothing was all that was taken. This seems to be a crime of opportunity where the suspect took warm clothes and money."

The break-in of White-Bucy's Nissan seems to take matters to another level. Her vehicle was locked.

"I just feel really violated," she said, while trying to maintain a sense of optimism.

"I'm telling people that this isn't the norm for La Conner," she said.

White-Bucy said sheriff's deputies "have been very nice" while pursuing her case.

"They're stressing how important it is for valuables in cars to be kept where they can't be seen," she said. "They're also alerting people that prowlers are starting to target catalytic converters. That's become a big thing lately."

"My recommendation," Willard said, "is to lock your vehicles at all times, take any valuables out of the vehicle, keep porch or driveway lights on at night, and install security cameras or motion sensor lights where your vehicles are parked to deter thieves."


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