Footprints in snow lead police to burglary suspects

Police arrested two Washougal teens this week in connection to four burglaries at local convenience shops

A video camera captured this image of two burglary suspects stealing tobacco products from the 7 Market in Camas on Dec. 28, 2021. (Contributed photo courtesy of the Camas and Washougal police departments)

Police followed the footprints in freshly fallen snow away from the 7 Market in Camas following a burglary on Dec. 28, 2021, and found two Washougal teens carrying these backpacks, which police said were filled with stolen goods from the 7 Market. (Contributed photo courtesy of the Camas and Washougal police departments)

Camas-Washougal police say they solved a series of burglaries this week thanks to footprints in freshly fallen snow. 

The burglaries began Dec. 16, after two suspects smashed a window at the E Street Market in Washougal, entered the building and stole tobacco and e-cigarette merchandise. The suspects returned to the market again on Dec. 21. Like the first incident, the suspects entered the building by breaking a window and stole tobacco products. 

On Dec. 26, two suspects burglarized the 7 Market on Northeast Third Avenue in Camas, again smashing a window to gain entry and stealing similar, tobacco-related items, police said this week. 

Police in Camas and Washougal believed all three incidents were related, and said they had leads on possible suspects after the Dec. 26 burglary. Then, two days later, at 3:41 a.m. on Dec. 28, Camas police responded to an alarm at the 7 Market, the site of the Dec. 26 burglary. When they arrived, police said they found a shattered glass window and door, and determined that tobacco and e-cigarette items had been stolen.

When officers from Camas and Washougal investigated, they found two clear sets of footprints in the freshly fallen snow outside the market. Washougal police followed the footprints out of the parking lot and through the neighborhood, eventually discovering two teens walking down I Street, carrying backpacks police said were filled with stolen items from the Camas market. One suspect “still had broken glass stuck to his coat,” police added. 

Police arrested both suspects – an unnamed 15 year old from Washougal and 18-year-old Cooper K. Akers, also of Washougal – and said both teens confessed to committing the burglaries. Both Akers and the 15 year old were booked for multiple counts of commercial burglary, felony theft and felony malicious mischief.