Arrest made in three burglaries
A Prineville man was jailed after police, search warrant in hand, turned up stolen property and what appears to be a pipe bomb at his homeOne man was arrested and police are looking for another in connection with two burglaries involving more than $59,000 worth of stolen county equipment.
Crook County Undersheriff Jim Hensley explained that three separate burglaries were involved. The first was at a work site at the county landfill.
In that incident, on Nov. 18, welding equipment, generators and a variety of tools were taken from a site at the county landfill. One trailer, loaded with stolen property apparently broke loose from the vehicle pulling it and rolled into the ditch alongside Houston Lake Road. The thieves simply dragged the loaded trailer off the road and into the brush and attempted to hide it. That equipment was found and recovered. It was estimated that about $10,000 in property was stolen in that burglary.
A couple of nights later, on Nov. 21, one of the county road department shops was burglarized. This time the burglars made off with an assortment of hand and power tools, and supplies used to maintain and service county vehicles. In this crime, the culprits stole a 1994 Ford pickup which they apparently used to transport some of the stolen property. That pickup has not been recovered, and including the value of the vehicle, the total loss was about $24,000.
The third burglary took place on Dec. 15, once again at the county landfill. This time a shop near the office was broken into and an estimated $22,500 in welders, hand and power tools, coveralls and other personal items were taken. Again, it appeared that a vehicle, identified as a 1979 Dodge flatbed truck was used to haul away the booty.
The next day, a sheriff's deputy found the truck about 30 miles south of town, a few miles beyond Bowman Dam. The welder and an expensive hoist that had been attached to the truck had been stripped off and were missing.
Friday, following information gathered in the ensuing investigation, one of the welders stolen in that crime was found in Madras. Sunday, with the use of a search warrant, Sheriff's deputies opened up a storage unit at a storage complex on Madras Highway and found more stolen property.
A second search warrant served at 365 NE Loper Ave. resulted in the arrest of the resident, 35-year-old Scott Patrick Gonser. Charged with several counts of Burglary, Aggravated theft, theft, possessions of stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Gonser was lodged in the county jail on $70,000 bail.
Among the charges brought against Gonser will be one for being in possession of a explosive device. The sheriff's deputies recovered what appeared to be a homemade pipe bomb. Hensley said the device was inspected by a local explosive expert and rendered safe. It was then turned over to the Oregon State Police Explosives Unit for further evaluation.
Prineville police officers and the Oregon State Police assisted the sheriff's office in the investigations and recovery of the stolen propety.
As a result of the two search warrants and information turned up by law enforcement officials, a portion of the stolen property has been recovered. Along with tools and equipment taken from the county road department and landfill, other property believed to have been stolen in other burglaries was also recovered. Police and Sheriff)s personnel are check their files, trying to determine who the owners of those goods.
The search continues for the second county vehicle and police are looking for a second man. Hensley would not identify that person.
Hensley asks that anyone with information about the burglaries, or equipment that could be part of the stolen property, contact his office at 447-6398.