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Police nab burglary spree suspect

St. Helens man believed to be behind rash of break-ins at area establishments going back to summer 2007
by: Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Anthony Michael Dehererra, 21, is believed to be behind the burglary of several St. Helens-area establishments, a list that includes a youth church center and a Baptist church. Dehererra is being held in the Columbia County Jail on $280,000 bail.

St. Helens police on Monday arrested a local man who is believed to be behind a string of burglaries around the St. Helens area dating back to summer last year.

During a traffic stop on Friday, Jan. 25, Anthony Michael Dehererra, 21, of St. Helens was identified as the passenger in a car, prompting further search of the car's contents.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office investigators had earlier identified Dehererra as a possible suspect following a burglary of the Yankton Baptist Church. That burglary resulted in the theft of musical equipment valued at several thousand dollars, according to a prepared police department release.

Search of the car's contents turned up burglars' tools, an examination of which drew a link to several known crime scenes.

The Friday traffic stop spawned a multi-agency police effort occurred that resulted in the arrest of Dehererra late in the afternoon on Jan. 28.

Dehererra has been charged with multiple counts of burglary, criminal trespass and theft. He is being held in the Columbia County Jail with bail set at $280,000.

'This case demonstrates the level of communication that occurs between law enforcement agencies,' said St. Helens Police Lt. Terry Moss in a prepared statement. 'The cooperation between investigators and their tenacity was really the key.'

Other criminal acts believed to be connected to Dehererra included burglaries at Eisenschmidt Pool, snack shacks at Campbell Park and the St. Helens High School, Log Cabin Coffee, the St. Helens Commuter Center, Sunset Church Youth Center and the Artisan co-op. The list is expected to grow as the investigation continues.

Criminal mischief cases involving extensive graffiti at St. Helens High School and in downtown St. Helens have also been resolved as a result of Friday's traffic stop, and several other suspects believed to have played a part in the burglaries have been identified. Other crimes are expected to be solved during the course of the continuing investigation.

Dehererra's case is being referred to the Columbia County District Attorney's Office for review and prosecution.