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WL officers catch robber

West Linn police ferret teen from a briar patch in Lake Oswego

A teen-ager got more than he bargained for Monday afternoon at the Lake Oswego liquor store, 644 N. State, between B and C avenues.

The youth allegedly grabbed a bottle of Jagermeister, a German herbal liqueur, and concealed it in his clothing before exiting the store. Confronted by the owner, the youth resisted and in the struggle the store owner reportedly sustained a bleeding injury to his head.

When the store owner called 9-1-1 at 2:47 p.m., Lake Oswego officers were dispatched on a 'shoplifter in custody' call. But a short time later, the teen became combative, broke free of the store owner's grip and fled.

West Linn Officer Nick Amendolara and Sgt. Neil Hennelly heard the call and decided to assist Lake Oswego officers James Peterson and Randy Stowe in the search for the runaway suspect.

Hennelly and Amendolara got a tip from a witness who pointed in the direction they had seen the suspect running. Less than 25 minutes from the initial call, they located the teen in what Hennelly called a briar patch behind a retaining wall.

With guns drawn, the West Linn officers ordered the youth to come out with hands up, and they detained him until Officer Peterson arrived to place the teen under arrest.

He was charged with robbery, theft, assault and criminal trespass.

After locating the youth's vehicle, officers questioned its occupants and discovered a small amount of marijuana, according to Lake Oswego Capt. Don Forman.

Hennelly said the voluntary assist they provided to Lake Oswego is something the two agencies often do for one another.

'They'd do the same for us,' Hennelly said. 'We just offered them an extra set of eyes.'

Forman agreed, noting that the two cities have an ongoing relationship, with the dispatch center serving both cities and several officers who have served on both police forces.

'The way I look at it,' said Forman, 'is that they are our West Linn branch and we are their LO branch. For West Linn, we cover State Street if someone is fleeing from West Linn or out Stafford Road.

'People don't know that when we stop a DUII suspect at Marylhurst, a West Linn officer is probably standing there as we conduct the sobriety test. It happens all the time.'

In addition, 9-1-1 dispatchers are trained to know how many officers are available, and they automatically call another agency for backup help when needed.

No matter which agency officers are assigned to, Forman said, they all consider themselves part of one big family. While protecting and serving their community's residents, they also watch each other's back.

'It's a good thing,' he said, 'because both communities really benefit from having help available.'