A man was found living in an attic after items mysteriously went missing and the homeowner smelled cigarette smoke, police say

Money, passport, and other personal documents
Money and personal items that police recovered from a man who appeared to be secretly living in another person's attic.Mill Creek Police Department
  • A man in Washington smelled cigarette smoke in his home and traced it to an upstairs loft.

  • There he found a makeshift bed, a running heater, half-eaten food, and drugs.

  • The following day the suspect returned to the house and was taken into custody, police said.

A man in Washington state made a disturbing discovery after items had gone missing and he smelled cigarette smoke in his house.

Police in Mill Creek, located about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, said they responded to a call this week from a homeowner who said he was missing over $3,000 and some personal documents, and believed a man was sleeping in his attic.


"The suspect was located inside the dwelling and taken into custody without incident. All but approximately $30 of the stolen belongings were recovered including the victims wallet and foreign passport," the Mill Creek Police Department said in a statement.

The homeowner was initially tipped off when he smelled cigarette smoke inside and traced it to a loft upstairs, where he found a makeshift bed, a running heater, drugs, and half-eaten food, local station KCPQ reported. Police came to the home on Monday, but were unable to locate the suspect, and told the resident the person would likely return.

The suspect returned the next day, and police again responded to the home, where they were able to take him into custody. Police also said they were able to return the stolen items to the homeowner.

It's unclear how long police believe the 24-year-old suspect had been inside the home before being discovered. He was charged with residential burglary, second-degree theft, and possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Mill Creek police urged residents to store their valuables in a "secure location."

A similar incident occurred in Oklahoma City in 2020 when a homeowner told police he thought the noises coming from his attic were being made by squirrels until he discovered a 28-year-old man living in his attic. The homeowner held the man at gunpoint until police arrived.

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