WL police break up car-theft ring
West Linn police arrested four people Tuesday in connection with a rash of thefts from vehicles in recent months, cracking a case that plagued residents of affluent neighborhoods across Clackamas County - including Lake Oswego.
Reade Eugene Fincuane, 19, of Milwaukie; Adam Samuel Johnson, 22, of Oregon City; and Nicholas Joseph Perez, 22, of Southeast Portland were all lodged at Clackamas County Jail after search warrants were served at their residents.
A 17-year-old girl from Oregon City was also taken into custody and lodged at the Clackamas County Juvenile Reception Center.
West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus credited an aware citizen as giving local officers their break in the case.
The witness asked to remain anonymous, but 'without citizen involvement like this, this crime spree would still be continuing,' Timeus said.
On Oct. 1, a West Linn man called police after noting something suspicious on his way home: A car stopped in the middle of the road with its lights out.
He continued on his way home but went back to check on the situation later. Finding a neighbor's car window broken, he dialed 9-1-1. He then gave officers a license plate number.
Police officers used that information to nab suspects and track down others.
The prowlers apparently focused on affluent areas, according to police.
Officers from Lake Oswego, West Linn and Oregon City police departments and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office were all involved in the execution of those warrants, recovering items stolen from vehicles in West Linn, Lake Oswego and Happy Valley.
The suspects face charges including first- and second-degree theft, first- and second-degree criminal mischief, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and second-degree conspiracy theft. Total bail was set at $75,000 apiece.
As of now, total loss to victims in this case is estimated at $15,000.
West Linn police checked in evidence Tuesday afternoon, everything from sunglasses and calculators to cell phones, iPods, laptop computers, golf clubs and designer clothes.
Afterward, officers issued some tips on ways to avoid becoming a victim of a car break-in: Don't leave valuables in cars or at least hide them. Also, record serial numbers on all electronics items.