Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 8, 2014

Home invasion suspect tells fishy dog tale

SUTTONS BAY — An Elk Rapids woman who spun yarns about a lost dog when homeowners found her in their homes is suspected in a string of burglaries across three counties.

Elk Rapids Police Chief Tom Emerson said his officers believe a woman, 74, walked into several unlocked homes to steal items. He said residents who confronted her were treated with a dog-gone story.

Emerson's investigators found their suspect may have hounded other jurisdictions. Antrim County Sheriff Dan Bean said authorities last week arrested a woman for incidents in the Elk Rapids area that had the "same M.O." He said he doesn't believe the woman has been arraigned in district court.

"It appears to be the same person that Leelanau, Grand Traverse and Antrim (counties) have been looking out for," he said.

Leelanau County authorities said a Bingham Township homeowner came upon an unfamiliar white Cadillac in the driveway when she drove up to her Shore View Circle house on April 2. She then confronted a woman inside her home.

Leelanau County Undersheriff Steve Morgan said the suspect claimed she walked into the unlocked home to search for evidence the residents owned a dog she said she'd almost struck with her car.

"They told her that they do not own a dog and she needed to get out of the house," Morgan said.

The homeowner took pictures as the interloper left. Morgan said a sheriff's deputy used the photos to track a suspect to Elk Rapids, where police were "well-aware" of her shaggy dog tales.

"That seems to be the theme," he said.

Emerson said his officers have 10 or 15 pending calls that may be connected with the woman. He's also still sniffing out any stolen items from the woman's suspected crimes.

"We are in the process of executing a search warrant on her residence," he said. "We are trying to recover some items that (have) been taken."

Leelanau County authorities ask residents who recently found someone in their home or had a woman knock on their door looking for a dog to call 256-8800. The suspect drove a white Cadillac SRX.

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