On November 2, 2022, OHPD Officers responded to a burglary alarm at a business on SR 20 (The Mill at The Kasteel restaurant). It was discovered that the business had been entered and items stolen, including cash drawers.
The following morning, two other nearby businesses (Golden Services and Best Friend’s Veterinary Center) reported similar circumstances and spent .9mm shell casings were recovered at all three businesses. Officers initially responded to these reports and then a Detective was assigned to continue the investigation. The Detective contacted the businesses and viewed surveillance videos from Best Friend’s Veterinary Center and The Mill showing the same subject doing the burglary/thefts at both businesses.
The videos showed the suspect discharged a firearm during the burglary at both businesses to gain access to locked drawers. It also appeared the suspect attempted to steal Best Friend’s Veterinary Center’s clinic cat and was seen holding the cat in his arms on video, but the cat managed to escape and was located outside hiding under a building.
On the morning of 11-03-22, While Detectives and Officers were in the area, an employee at The Auld Holland Inn contacted the Detective and advised that he had just observed a subject dump items over the back fence at the business and then enter a hotel room, just prior to the witness’ contact with the Officers. The witness advised Officers the subject had just checked out of the motel and was about to leave. Officers recovered these items, which they identified as coming from the businesses which had been broken into.
Oak Harbor Police Department Detectives and Officers quickly formulated a plan and apprehended the suspect as he exited a motel room. The suspect matched the person seen in the business’s videos. The suspect was identified as Jerald Fitzgerald who is apparently from Arizona. Fitzgerald, 29 years old, had an active warrant for burglary out of Arizona, and is ineligible to possess firearms. He was charged with two counts of burglary in the first degree, one count of attempted burglary in the first degree, malicious mischief, unlawful possession of a firearm, discharging a firearm, and possession of stolen property, and was booked into the Island County Jail.
The investigation is ongoing, and he is suspected of thefts committed in the County before his capture in Oak Harbor.
Press release by – Chief Kevin Dresker