Northwest NEWS

August 30, 1999

Local News

Bothell High grad appears on 'America's Most Wanted'

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   SANTA BARBARA--Bothell native Dirk Van Velzen, 27, was arrested by Santa Barbara County detectives on Monday, Aug. 23.

   The detectives had to jump Van Velzen and wrestle him down outside a restaurant as he began to pull a pistol on them after they identified themselves. The officers said Van Velzen looked like he intended to shoot them and struggled so much they also had to handcuff his ankles.

   The detectives had received tips that Van Velzen had been seen in the Isla Vista area of Santa Barbara after local viewers saw him featured on the television show America's Most Wanted. Tipsters told detectives he was going by the name Dmitriy Couch.

   The Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department suspects him in a March break-in at their training facility, in which over 30 weapons were stolen, including handguns, rifles, and a machine gun. A University of California student arrested for burglary was reportedly associated with Van Velzen.

   Van Velzen is currently wanted on a federal firearms violation and a Snohomish County warrant for two counts of first-degree possession of stolen property and two counts of second-degree burglary. King County wants him on an outstanding warrant for a probation violation on a forgery charge.

   Lynnwood police suspect Van Velzen is part of a sophisticated burglary ring that has stolen over $600,000 worth of chemicals, golf clubs, artwork, computer components, and scuba equipment from local businesses.

   Van Velzen, a Bothell High School graduate and former Eagle Scout candidate, has had two prior arrests. As a juvenile, he was convicted of taking a motor vehicle without permission. In 1990, he spent seven months in jail for second-degree reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct for setting off a smoke bomb at the Apple Cup game in Pullman.