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Huge bear trap taken in burglary, recovered in Idaho

After being seen offered for sale on an Internet auction website, the missing one-of-a-kind artifact has been returned to Crook County
When stood on end, the 7-foot tall 'bear' trap towers over Deputy Jim Chapman who stand a mere 6'3". The trap, handmade by a man in Toledo, Oregon, was stolen in one of a number of burglaries that have kept authorities busy this year. As one deputy said, "anyone who can set this trap doesn't really need it. He could get his bear with a switch."
   A 170-pound, seven-foot bear trap that was reported stolen sometime ago has been recovered. The trail left by the huge steel trap could lead authorities to the thief.
   Crook County Sheriff's deputy Jim Chapman explained that the trap was one of the items stolen recently. Local contractor Don Edwards told authorities that his home had been broken into five times in the past year. This time, with the trap being found, there is a good chance an arrest will be made.
   The trap is one-of-a-kind and was handcrafted by a Toledo, Oregon, man. Edwards belongs to a national trapper's association and, shortly after the latest break-in, he notified the association's magazine with a description of the trap. As soon as the magazine was published, Edwards started hearing from people as far away as the east coast and Canada.
   Chapman was told that the trap had turned up for sale on the Internet auction website, E-Bay. From the information available, the seller of the trap lived in Idaho. Working with the sheriff of the Idaho community, the trap was recovered and returned to Cook County.
   "The guy in Idaho said he bought it from a guy in LaGrande," Chapman said. "The guy in LaGrande told us he bought it from a guy from Prineville. I identified the trap and brought it back here."
   No arrests have been made yet, but the sheriff's office is completing its investigation and a suspect has been identified.
   This is one of the first breaks in a series of burglaries that have been plaguing authorities this year. Chapman said there have been about 40 break-ins during the past 10 months. "They have been targeting firearms and antiques," he said. "I'd estimate that at least 100 firearms have been stolen in the burglaries."
   Some of the stolen items are easy to identify. For example, one reported lost in a burglary is a Parton Rifle. A very unique 1850s weapon, it has a barrel that revolves as the gun is fired. It is, Chapman pointed out, reported to be one of only six such rifles in existence.
   Another is a small single barrel pistol with a large rotating drum in front of the barrel. Called a "palm pistol" this gun is also from the 1850s. These, Chapman said, will probably help capture the person who stole them. Others are not so easy.
   "It would help if people would write down a serial number or take photos of the antiques they own," the deputy said. "Someone reports seeing a rifle but without a serial number of personal identification number it's hard to recover it."
   Having the serial numbers or a PIN number is the key, Chapman believes, to recovering stolen items and catching the thieves.