A burglary suspect was caught mid-heist before leading law enforcement on a chase through an apartment with three small children inside Friday night, authorities said.
Steven Baliad, 25, of Crescent City, was arrested on suspicion of three felonies, including burglary and cruelty to a child.
"When law enforcement is pursuing a suspect that has committed a felony there's a lot of bad things that can happen. To knowingly place a child in between is a crime," said Del Norte sheriff's Commander Bill Steven said.
The chase and subsequent arrest began after a rock sailed through the storefront window of Seaside Hydrogarden Supply, tripping its motion alarm. The responding sheriff's deputy encountered a man inside the building, his arms loaded with boxes.
The suspect fled across the street to Totem Villa Apartments and slammed the door of a residence on the pursuing deputy, according to Steven.
After ordering the suspect to surrender, the deputy kicked down the door of the apartment, only to meet with three children from 4 to 8 years old and one adult woman.
"The juveniles appeared terrified," Steven said.
The woman and the children were taken outside. Meanwhile, the suspect remained in an upstairs bedroom, refusing to come out or respond in any way to the deputy, according to Steven.
As the deputy awaited back-up, the suspect climbed out of a second-story window and was immediately apprehended by a Crescent City police officer.
Boxes containing stolen merchandise, as well as the cash register drawer and business cards from Seaside Hydrogarden Supply, were found inside the apartment, indicating that the suspect made more than one haul from the store before meeting up with authorities, Steven said.
During his arrest, numerous collectible coins were found in Baliad's pockets, still in collector's sleeves.
"He said they were his and he always carries them around, said Steven. "We probably have a coin theft also that may not have been reported yet."
Reach Emily Jo Cureton at DNTriplicate@gmail.com .