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APD: Austin Axe Burglar Caught In New Mexico

Updated: Monday, February 10 2014, 05:40 PM CST

David Zimmerman's neighbor awoke to a man inside his home armed with an axe.

"I was awakened by the helicopters, the police had come out," recalled Zimmerman.

According to an arrest affidavit the "suspect ran out the rear door, leaving behind a blue-bladed, wooded handle axe."  

But that's not all he left behind.

Cops on scene were able to locate a Sketcher tennis shoe in the driveway of the victim's home. In it they found a pair of socks and other pieces of clothing folded in the shoe. Detectives were able to determine that it belonged to the suspect who is missing his right foot.

Detectives made the connection when 60-year-old Gary Whiteis was detained for allegedly casing a home located less than a mile away.

"One of the officers on scene did recognize the fact that he did match the suspect description closely of the week prior of the burglary," said Austin police commander Todd Gage.

At that point the DNA tests from the original break-in hadn't come back with a match so police let Whiteis go. He escaped to Roswell, New Mexico but couldn't hide from the law.

"They set up surveillance and waited for him to get out.  When he came out of his home they arrested him before getting into his vehicle," said Lone Star Fugitive Task Force spokesman Hector Gomez.

Whiteis is charged with burglary of a residence.  He could face additional charges.

(Photo from the Chaves County Sheriff's Office.)

By Alex Boyer

APD: Austin Axe Burglar Caught In New Mexico

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