Drugs, evidence of identity theft found in the car, stolen from Hillsboro
A Forest Grove Police officer happened upon a carload of drugs and evidence of identity theft after he ran a check on the car's plate while on patrol.
According to Sgt. Jeff Williams, Forest Grove police spokesman, the patrol officer was driving past an apartment building on the 3000 block of Pacific Avenue, around 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 20, and thought a silver Hyundai Accent in the parking lot looked suspicious.
The officer entered the plate into his vehicle's on-board computer and seconds later the plate came up as stolen from Hillsboro. After calling for backup, the officer turned his patrol car around and cornered the stolen vehicle in the parking lot.
Police found five people in the car, including a Beaverton teenager, a small cache of drugs, and identification cards that didn't belong to the occupants.
The driver, Sandra Woodward, 49, and the passengers, Gregory Paul, 39, Leora Seaman, 27, Emalee Baker, 28, and the 16-year-old teen, all of Beaverton, were all cited for unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Police found 7.5 grams of marijuana in a variety of containers, 1.166 grams of methamphetamine, a red digital scale, three glass pipes, a tool bag with tools, a pair of leather gloves, a folding knife, and identification, including one Social Security card, issued to four different individuals who weren't present in the car.
Seaman was charged with possession of methamphetamine. The teenager, who police say is a neighbor of one of the foursome, was charged with a curfew violation and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Paul, Woodward and Seaman were all lodged in the Washington County Jail. Baker was released at the scene. The teen was released to a parent.
Williams said officers believe the group was intending to conduct more petty crimes in Forest Grove, possibly identity theft. The investigation is ongoing.
'They think by grabbing these guys before they got to where they were going in town they prevented untold numbers of crimes,' Williams said.
The stolen Hyundai was likely an opportunity theft, Williams said, as most stolen cars are. He says most car thieves aren't planning on cashing in high-end automotive parts when they abscond with an import sedan.
'They're not stealing them for a chop-shop sort of thing, they're just stealing them to get from point A to point B,' Williams said.
Williams said that with the onset of cold weather in the region, he's personally seen an increase in unlocked, running vehicles left in residents' driveways.
Williams said that while warming your car up in the morning might make the drive into work or school more comfortable, it also makes it easier for thieves to take it for a joyride.