Arrest in south of Tacoma Street burglaries
Newly-appointed Inner Southeast 'Neighborhood Response Team' (NRT) Police Officer Heidi Helwig has been announcing at recent SMILE neighborhood association meetings that there has been a major wave of burglaries in Sellwood, mostly south of Tacoma Street. And, as reported in recent issues of THE BEE, suspicions have focused on two transients in particular as the responsible parties.
At the October SMILE General Public Meeting on the 4th, she said the burglaries had dropped sharply in September, possibly because the two main suspects had spent much of the month in jail on unrelated charges; but, she added, 'they're out now, so be watchful.'
The problem had been in gaining evidence against the suspects to justify an arrest. However, on October 12th, officers arrested a 36-year-old transient, Mac Alford, whom they are charging with at least two of the break-ins.
According to Officer Helwig, the 'method of operation' in the burglaries, which mostly occurred in the daytime, and involved homes which were not occupied, was that a door was kicked in, and then a thief or thieves moved quickly through the home stealing items which were easily carried away, ranging from food and beer to laptop computers, jewelry, and cash.
Police suspect that an accomplice may have observed homes in the morning to find ones in which people were leaving for the day, and later acted as a lookout when the burglaries were taking place.
Although one suspect is now under arrest, charged with burglary--a class-A felony, others are also believed involved in the many break-ins, so residents are still advised to remain watchful, and to report any suspicious activity to the police.
Officer Helwig told THE BEE, 'I don't think that burglaries will be stopping, but I am hopeful they will decline in number and frequency. We are still investigating a number of them, and hopefully will be able to close a few more cases.' She added, 'The community should remain vigilant about locking doors and windows, keeping laptops out of sight, talking to neighbors, and watching for unusual suspects in the area.'