Crime

Man pleads not guilty to allegedly burglarizing Palm Springs home, swimming in neighboring pool

INDIO, Calif. - A man who allegedly burglarized a Palm Springs home last fall and then spent the afternoon swimming in a neighboring home's pool pleaded not guilty to a pair of burglary counts.

Kenneth Blakeley, 34, of Cathedral City, allegedly broke into a home on Calle Palo Fierro last Sept. 26, then jumped over fences into neighboring backyards. He was spotted hours later swimming in the pool of a home four houses down from where the break-in occurred, according to an arrest warrant 
declaration.

Palm Springs police were dispatched to the burglarized home around 12:30 p.m. As officers were surveying the interior, a neighbor told them that a man and woman were running out of the back of the residence. The officers gave chase, but the suspects were able to get away, with the man jumping over a wall into a neighboring backyard.

The home had been ransacked, according to the declaration, which alleges that the suspects also broke into the homeowner's car and took several items. However, they apparently had to leave much of their loot behind, with property found ``stacked up by the front door'' and a TV remote near the wall 
where Blakeley allegedly fled.

Around 4 that afternoon, Palm Springs police were called to another Calle Palo Fierro home, where a stranger was seen swimming in a home's pool. A responding officer found Blakeley ``sitting on a wall near the front porch'' of the home, the declaration states.

He told the officer that he was visiting a woman named Jennifer Rasmussen at the home, and was allowed to leave. Police later met with the homeowner, who said he didn't know Blakeley or a Jennifer Rasmussen, according to the declaration.

Blakeley was later identified through home video surveillance, which captured him running from officers around 12:30 p.m., police said.   

He was arrested in Cathedral City just after midnight Tuesday, according to county jail records.

In addition to the burglary charges, Blakeley pleaded not guilty to vehicle theft charges in a Desert Hot Springs case dating back to December. He's due back in court on Feb. 27 for a felony settlement conference.


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