Crime

Suspect who sparked I-84 warning signs arrested after Elmore County burglary

This warning to avoid hitchhikers was displayed Tuesday morning above the outbound Connector in Boise and similar signs on westbound Interstate 84 starting around Glenns Ferry.
This warning to avoid hitchhikers was displayed Tuesday morning above the outbound Connector in Boise and similar signs on westbound Interstate 84 starting around Glenns Ferry. nblanchard@idahostatesman.com

Robert E. Lee, 32, was picked up Tuesday by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office after an after-midnight burglary at the Price Less Mini-Mart in Glenns Ferry.

The man, who had been spotted walking on westbound I-84 between the Utah border and Glenns Ferry several times in the past week, inspired Idaho State Police to put up advisories on electronic readerboards along westbound I-84 saying “Please do not pick up hitch hikers.”

A description of the person a trooper saw “exhibiting potentially dangerous behavior” on I-84 near Glenns Ferry Monday afternoon matched the person caught on surveillance video inside the closed mini-mart about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, Elmore County Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said in a news release. ISP had identified that suspicious person as Robert E. Lee.

Elmore store surveillance
Surveillance photos from a Glenns Ferry mini-mart show an intruder taking items from the store after midnight Tuesday. Provided by Elmore County Sheriff’s Office.

Elmore deputies responded to a burglar alarm at the store and discovered someone had broken in, stealing various items, Hollinshead said. Search efforts for Lee continued throughout the early morning hours and into daylight Tuesday when the suspect was sighted by a group of concerned citizens from the Hammett and Glenns Ferry area, he said in the news release.

The Glenns Ferry School District was placed in a brief lockdown until Lee was apprehended, Hollinshead said.

Idaho State Police asked the Idaho Transportation Department to display the reader-board message about hitchhikers as an effort to prevent possibly hazardous interactions with the man, ISP spokesman Tim Marsano sasid Tuesday.

According the sheriff’s office, Lee has a lengthy criminal history including burglary, threats to law enforcement, battery and drug use. The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation.

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