Cameras catch Woodstock car thieves in the act

by: David F. Ashton With police resources spread thin, it could take a while for the criminals who stole and stripped this Jeep, and left it parked in Woodstock, to be brought to justice. But when they’re in court, there’s a clear surveillance video of who they were and what they did, to help convict them.

After stealing and stripping a Burgundy four-door Jeep 4x4 Cherokee Sport Wagon on October 31, thieves took the vehicle to their hideout to steal all of the owner's personal items, and rip the radio out of the dash.

But, after that, their choice of where to pull off the wheels and dump the Jeep could not have been worse: The Woodstock Bible Church, on S.E. Mitchell Street near 52nd Avenue.

'Police officers often pull into our parking lot to write reports,' explained Wilf Scheuermann, the church's administrative pastor, to THE BEE.

'Neighbors called me when they saw a police officer get out of his car to inspect the Jeep that had been left there - without any wheels,' continued Scheuermann. 'He must have checked the plates, learned who the owners were, and contacted them. I came back to the church, and met the owners of the car and the officer.'

The very clear images captured on the church's video surveillance system showed the thieves - two men in their 20s who brought the Jeep around back of the church.

'While the event was sad for the owners, watching the pair of thieves while this occurred, between 5 and 5:20 pm was, well, almost comical,' smiled Scheuermann. 'They bumbled around, trying to lift the Jeep using a 'high lift' jack, like you'd use to jack up a house - that didn't work.'

The pair hopped into a four-door white Honda Accord, and cane back about six minutes later with a mechanic's floor jack. 'Being gone for only six minutes, they must not have gone far - to leave, fetch a jack, and return.'

The crooks finally managed to get the wheels off the Jeep and make their getaway, the pastor said. 'I gave a copy of the video to the couple, and offered it to the police,' Scheuermann said.

We've asked the Portland Police Bureau if the evidence - catching these criminals red-handed - has yet produced an arrest, but the video should help..

'At least, the family did get their car back,' sighed Scheuermann.