CLEVELAND COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Deputies and U.S. Marshals in Oklahoma are searching for a suspect that has been linked to dozens of break-ins, during which he will steal from and vandalize the homes, and sometimes stop to make himself something to eat.
Officials identified the suspect as Andrew Earls, claiming he often breaks into homes in Woodward and Cleveland counties, before subsequently making himself at home. The 27-year-old is accused in more than 30 recent burglaries in Woodward County alone.
Authorities believe the suspect is now hiding out in the Norman and Noble area, south of Oklahoma City.
“I think he’s in survival mode, I really do,” said Woodward County Sheriff Kevin Mitchell. “We very quickly realized we didn’t have a normal one-time theft.”
The suspect is now also being linked to at least five burglaries in Cleveland County.
“He will break into a home and he will eat, he will sit there, and drink their beer,” said Mendi Brandon, the Public Information Officer for the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. “We believe he will hide out in trees and hang out just to evade law enforcement.”
Alisha Shrout said deputies believe she’s one of the suspect’s victims in Woodward. She says he hit her home not once, but twice.
“They said that is his signature trademark. He goes in and trashes houses,” Shrout told KFOR. “He had cut my outside cameras and then he went into my bedroom and, where the receiver was, he cut every single cord.”
Shrout said a neighbor’s security camera caught the crook in action while he was wearing a head lamp.
“He left that head lamp in my kitchen next to the food,” she said.
The single mother of three boys said the suspect broke into her home after kicking in her back doors. She said he stole her jewelry, threw her clothes around, damaged her iPads and helped himself to a couple cans of soup.
“He had cooked a breakfast bowl out of my freezer and used my microwave,” Shrout said.
Shrout added that the suspect also slept in her son’s bed and used her bathroom.
“He took a shower and left his wet towel and soap all over the floor of my shower,” Shrout said. “I actually found his jeans in the hallway outside my bathroom. It had like a shoestring belt.”
In addition to trashing her home, Shrout said he also stole two handguns and a shotgun.
“He had got a 4-10 shotgun out of my bedroom closet, loaded it, left a box of shells in the bathroom, and left it propped up sitting outside the bathroom,” she said. “He also shoved some of those shells down my sink drain.”
Sheriff Mitchell said this, too, is a common occurrence.
“We have a dozen or so firearms missing. Handguns and rifles. We’ve recovered about six of those, so there are still some that are outstanding,” said Sheriff Mitchell. “When we were close to catching up with him, he’d ditch whatever he had and run.”
The sheriff said Earls also leaves breadcrumbs behind from his previous hits.
“He would go to one place taking something and then go to the next place and he would leave something from the first place,” said Sheriff Mitchell.
The sheriff also said they had come close to catching him a few times.
“We were there soon enough to lay eyes on him and we would try to contain him. But, in our rugged terrain, it’s really tough to do,” he said. “He’s kind of slippery.”
Now, Cleveland County deputies believe he’s in their neck of the woods, possibly hiding near Norman and Noble.
“He’s wearing camouflage or a ghillie suit of some sort and he’s believed to be hiding in the woods in that area,” said Brandon.
Sheriff Mitchell said he believes Earls is dangerous and armed most of the time.
Cleveland County deputies said Earls is about 6-feet tall, with brown hair, and has multiple tattoos on his arms and chest.