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End of the line in crime spree

Police arrest Nick Lewis, a suspect in more than 50 local criminal acts
by: submitted photo, Nick Vern Lewis

with JIM HART and LEAH BOBALOVA

An alleged crime spree ended Saturday when a local resident spotted 28-year-old Nick Vern Lewis in the resident's South Shore Boulevard home, allegedly committing another in a series of burglaries.

Lewis, a former Lake Oswego resident, is suspected of stealing goods from at least three Lake Oswego residences, then using stolen information to commit identity theft and fraud throughout the region. Police estimate they can connect Lewis to more than 50 crimes.

Police released details of the crimes to the media last Thursday after Lewis eluded police in Lincoln City Jan. 3 and returned to the local area.

Though Lewis has allegedly left a trail of burglary, fraud and stolen cars since mid-December, the case against him didn't break until he was spotted in the Lake Oswego home at about 10 a.m. Saturday.

'The homeowner confronted him, they had an exchange of words,' said Lt. Dale Jorgensen with the Lake Oswego Police.

Lewis then fled the scene in a stolen BMW, Jorgensen said, then led police on first a car chase and then a foot chase after an officer spotted the car in traffic.

Police arrested Lewis in a marsh near Lower Boones Ferry Road after he allegedly crashed the car into a curb on Pilkington Road and escaped on foot. He was lodged at the Clackamas County Jail on multiple charges.

Capt. Don Forman, spokesman for the Lake Oswego Police, said the stolen BMW was 'full of valuables' after the pursuit.

The car is one of eight BMWs test-driven by Lewis over the weekend, according to police. All were for sale by private owners, they said. The one stolen was taken from a West Linn resident who did not accompany Lewis on the test drive.

The car was the second BMW Lewis is suspected of stealing. The first was allegedly purchased for $22,000 with checks manufactured after one of the Lake Oswego burglaries. Lewis is also suspected of stealing license plates from other BMWs over the last three weeks to avoid police detection.

Police say all of the incidents in which Lewis is suspected have occurred since the second week in December.

He is being investigated for criminal trespass in West Linn, according to West Linn Police Sgt. Neil Hennelly.

Lewis allegedly entered his former (now vacant) apartment illegally in the 100 block of Springtree Lane in West Linn to retrieve belongings he left behind.

Local burglaries in which Lewis is suspect occurred in the South Shore Boulevard and Fernwood areas. One of the Lake Oswego incidents included the theft of gasoline from a local station.