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Man accused of stealing garden tools days before Seattle woman goes missing

Brett Gitchel is accused of stealing items from a garden shed five days before prosecutors said he reportedly kidnapped and tried to kill Leticia Martinez’s son.

SEATTLE — A man accused of kidnapping a missing Seattle woman's son is facing new charges in an unrelated crime that happened just days before Leticia Martinez disappeared.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Brett Gitchel, 46, with second-degree burglary Tuesday after he allegedly stole items from a garden shed and tried to break into a West Seattle home.

According to charging documents, the burglary happened five days before prosecutors said he kidnapped and tried to kill Martinez’s son and then set her car on fire. Martinez was last seen with Gitchel at a Seattle Mariners game March 31.

Court documents show Gitchel was seen on surveillance footage entering the backyard of a West Seattle home around 11:45 p.m. March 27 and entering numerous times until 1:05 a.m. March 28.

In reports, police said Gitchel first entered without a mask on then noticed the cameras and came back with a medical mask on.

Police report Gitchel was wearing a distinctive two-toned Mariners hooded sweatshirt with teal on the hood and shoulders. He’s also seen wearing black-rimmed glasses.

Documents said Gitchel is seen manipulating the camera before ultimately removing them, but a remaining camera captured a clear image of him.

Gitchel also reportedly cut the cable to the inside of the home.

The homeowner reported to police he saw Gitchel walking around the area the day before.

Jeff Brown, who lives near the home that was broken into, said he picked up on the resemblance between Gitchel and the burglary suspect after Seattle police posted a photo of Martinez and Gitchel together at the Mariners game. 

"Thinking they finally connected the dots to the intruder in the one backyard and this, and its really sad that it has to be here," Brown said.

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