‘Excellent police work.’ Gig Harbor detective solves gas station burglary


While friends and family gathered together on Easter to celebrate the holiday, Gig Harbor detective Tray Federici was celebrating for a different reason.

After a week of intense and constant work, Federici caught his guy.

Federici said around 2 a.m. on April 15 someone used a hammer to break into a gas station. The thief left with 12 rolls of Washington Lottery Scratch tickets.

“By the time the burglary was discovered, the suspect was able to cash a lot of those tickets prior to the lottery shutting them down,” Federici said.

Federici obtained surveillance videos from the gas station as well as other locations where the suspect cashed the tickets.

Difficulty arose in identifying the suspect as he was wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt and black mask during the burglary.

“The video was analyzed frame by frame, and we located the suspect’s vehicle and his vehicle plate. Utilizing that we were able to identify the suspect,” Federici said.

The detective said to the best of his knowledge the suspect was living in their target vehicle.

“It was excellent police work,” Chief Kelly Busey said. “The notable part is Detective Federici identified him within hours of the crime.”

The detective began watching areas police believed the suspect might frequent.

He got a break on Easter.

Federici was informed that the suspect was taken into custody by the Auburn Police Department in relation to an attempted burglary at a grocery store.

“I was notified immediately and responded ...,” Federici said. “I interviewed him over the course of an hour or two, and he provided a confession in his involvement of the gas station burglary as well as defrauding the Washington State Lottery Commission.”

The man told the detective he left his vehicle somewhere in Auburn. The vehicle was located and seized for a search warrant.

Busey said he believes Federici’s quick and thorough police work has prevented many future crimes from occurring in the Gig Harbor area.

“This guy probably did a whole bunch of crimes regionwide, so Federici prevented many more crimes that could have occurred. He was living day-to-day, driving, trying to get money and would have continued this crime spree,” Busey said.

The surveillance videos revealed there were two people involved in the gas station burglary. The second man has not been apprehended.