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Police: Masked man caught trying to break into Westside Church


Bend police responding to several alarms at the Westside Church encountered and arrested a masked, armed burglar carrying a crowbar who allegedly damaged the exterior in several places in an attempt to gain entry, officers said.

Police responded shortly after 4 a.m. to the reported alarm at the church on Northwest Shevlin Park Road, said Lt. Clint Burleigh. Officers heading there were told the alarm had been tripped several times, he said.

Officers checking the area found a man identified as Yajnesa Dharmarajah, 43, of Bend, standing next to the church, wearing a ski mask and gloves and with a crowbar in his hand, the lieutenant said. He was taken into custody without incident, and at that time was found to be carrying a 9mm handgun, Burleigh added.

Officers checked the exterior of the church and found several damaged areas, consistent with someone trying to gain entry. They also found Dharmarajah’s Toyota Prius, still running, parked nearby, Burleigh said.

Dharmarajah was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and booked on first-degree charges of burglary and criminal mischief, as well as carrying a concealed weapon and possession of burglary tools.

A jail officer said he was released later in the day after posting 10 percent of his $45,000 bail.

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