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Federal Way police hunt for serial hotel burglar

Police are searching for a man whom they are referring to as a serial hotel burglar.

Federal Way police have probable cause to arrest James L. Sly, 44, who is suspected of burglarizing hotels in the South King County area. He has allegedly targeted seven hotels in Federal Way, SeaTac, Renton and Tukwila.

The most recent burglary occurred July 29 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Tukwila, where three rooms were broken into between 5 and 6:30 p.m., Federal Way police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said. Four of the hotels targeted have been Marriott hotels.

The burglary spree began in January at the Federal Way Courtyard by Marriott hotel, 31910 Gateway Center Blvd. Of the seven burglaries, three occurred in Federal Way. The last burglary in Federal Way took place on July 12. Five laptops, two digital cameras and an iPod were taken in the Federal Way crimes, Schrock said.

Sly is known to check into hotel rooms using the name Colin Smith. The suspected burglar pries the door jam on hotel rooms to make an entrance, Schrock said. Police believe Sly is the burglar because of prior convictions against him, surveillance video of the suspect, who matches a Department of Licensing photo of Sly, and witness identifications, Schrock said.

Probable cause to arrest Sly in the SeaTac, Renton and Tukwila cases has not been established, Schrock said. The surveillance video was captured in the Federal Way crimes.

Five of the burglaries occurred in July. Sly was last seen in a white 1981 Toyota Celica with Washington license plate number 442WNL. Anyone with information about these cases or Sly's whereabouts is asked to call Federal Way detectives at (253) 835-6892.

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