Orcas man arrested after allegedly breaking into home, flashing knife at officer and running away into woods

Matthew Edward Huffstodt, 33, of Deer Harbor, was apprehended by sheriff’s deputies on Oct. 2, three days after he allegedly broke into a home, brandished a knife at a police officer and ran away into the woods.

His arraignment in San Juan County Superior Court is scheduled for Oct. 10. He is accused of burglary, possessing stolen property, resisting arrest and having a weapon capable of producing bodily harm. On Oct. 3, Judge Kathryn Loring set his bail at $50,000.

On Sept. 29 at 8:30 p.m., officers responded to a residence on Harborview Lane on Orcas Island for a report of a burglary in progress. Via a surveillance camera, the owner could see someone with a flashlight inside his garage, which is under construction.

The arriving deputy observed a pick-up truck with its tailgate open and a large table saw hanging out of the back. He also noticed the garage door was halfway open. The deputy removed his department-issued patrol rifle and exited this vehicle, approaching the truck. Huffstodt then exited the garage and walked towards him. The deputy identified himself and told the suspect to keep his hands visible and place them on the hood of the truck. Huffstodt did not comply, walked to the driver’s side door and placed his right hand in his jacket pocket.

According to the deputy’s report, “I pointed my patrol rifle at Huffstodt and ordered him to keep his hand out of his pocket. Huffstodt pulled his hand out of his jacket pocket, and I saw he was holding a large, fixed-blade knife with a red handle. Huffstodt began to turn toward me, and I ordered him at gunpoint to drop the knife. Huffstodt raised the knife up and displayed it in the air.”

The deputy ordered the suspect to stop multiple times and he refused to comply. He then ran away, at which point the officer chased him, stopping after going about 50 feet into the woods.

“I was concerned for my safety at that point due to the lack of light and heavily wooded unfamiliar terrain,” he wrote.

More police officers arrived to search the area and Orcas Island Assistant Fire Chief Holly Vanschaick used a thermal imager, but the suspect was not located. Huffstodt’s truck at the crime scene was impounded. After obtaining a search warrant, police found his truck was “full of power and hand tools taken from the garage.”

Sheriff Ron Krebs asked the public to assist in apprehending Huffstodt, and after a citizen’s tip on Oct. 2, he was arrested without incident in Eastsound.

Huffstodt has a pending case in Whatcom County, where he is accused of reckless endangerment after a 13-month-old girl in his care ingested methamphetamine. A jury trial is set for Dec. 5, 2022.