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Man uses garage door opener to break into Bothell woman's home

Police arrested a man who stole a Bothell woman's garage door opener, using it to get inside the home and steal items.

The woman heard her garage door opening on June 11 around 9 a.m., according to police reports. At first she thought her husband had returned from work, when she looked outside she saw a man dressed in black wearing a hoodie walking away from her garage.

The woman called 911 and police arrested the 18-year-old after bringing him to King County jail and having the Bothell woman positively identify him as they man who broke into her home, according to police reports. According to charging documents, Michael Birmingham told police he wanted to steal electronics to support his drug habit. Investigators found the stolen garage door opener along with knives, gloves, and a stun gun in his backpack.

The state requested a bail be set at $20,000 based on the likelihood the defendant will fail to appear in response to a summons and is likely to commit a violent offense, according to charging documents. At the first appearance hearing, the court released Birmingham on personal recognizance - despite the state-requested bail.

After the teen left the woman's house, detectives say he went down the street and tried to get into a neighbor's house by prying open a sliding glass door. Birmingham was able to wriggle out of his backpack and run away when police detained him.

State representatives say they are concerned for public safety because Birmingham tried to break into two separate occupied homes.

"While residential burglary is not a violent crime, per say, any burglary can escalate into violence if the victim is present or if the burglary is interrupted or is armed with weapons," wrote Daniel Satterberg, prosecuting attorney. "In this case, the defendant had knives and a stun gun in the backpack he was carrying."

Birmingham has just been kicked out of his father's home nearby and admitted to police his plan was to break into houses to steal. The state is concerned Birmingham may resort to violence as he is "homeless and desperate to feed his drug addiction," according to charging documents.

Birmingham is suspected of residing near the houses he targeted.

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