Pierce County prosecutors charged an Eau Claire man with armed burglary after he was allegedly found inside a rural Maiden Rock home.
In addition to the felony charge, the suspect, Loren L. Suttles, 54, also faces misdemeanor counts of criminal trespassing and theft. He made his initial appearance June 13 where he was released from Pierce County Jail on a signature bond.
According to a criminal complaint:
Pierce County sheriff's deputies were called June 12 to W3104 190th Ave. in the town of Salem for a suspicious activity report. The property owner reported he went there to find electricity out when it shouldn't have been.
Deputies talked with the complainant who said someone else might have been in the house. Officers drove up to the house and noticed someone inside.
Just after a deputy tried seeking permission from the property owner to force their way in, another deputy said he watched a man inside the house take a gun off his side and place it on a table. The man then came to the door.
The man, later identified as Suttles, told officers he had been hired by a different man to come clean out the house. Deputies phoned the property owner to see if he knew who Suttles was. He said he didn't know Suttles, but knew of another man who had agreed to let the property owner keep his belongings there until mid-July.
Asked about his presence at the property, Suttles said a "friend of a friend" had hired him. Asked by a deputy how he got into the house, "he got a smile on his face," the complaint states.
"He said through the window," according to the complaint.
Suttles didn't respond to the deputy's query of whether it seemed suspicious that he was given a key to access the house.
Deputies checked the back of Suttles' pickup and found baskets of items he said had been taken from the house. He was then arrested.
Deputies went into the house and inspected the gun found on the table — a .45-caliber handgun that officers seized. Officers also found a rifle and two loaded magazines in the house that the homeowner said weren't his.
Suttles has a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 7.