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Traffic stop thwarts burglary plot

Deputies stop three men, including one from Gresham, from burglarizing a home where a woman was still inside


A Gresham man is in jail, as are two other men, after a chance traffic stop unraveled a plan to burglarize a Washington County house where a woman was still home.

Driver John Phillips, 43, of Southeast Portland, along with his two passengers, Nicholas Teegarden, 27, of Northeast Portland, and Joseph M. Landers, 31, of Gresham, are being held in the Washington County Jail on allegations of first-degree conspiracy to commit burglary, first-degree attempted burglary and possession of burglary tools. Landers and Phillips also are being held for violating their Multnomah County parole or probation on unspecified offenses. In addition, Phillips is accused of methamphetamine possession and delivery, as well as driving with a revoked license.

At about 6:20 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, a Washington County Sheriff's Office deputy pulled over a motorist for a minor traffic offense at Northwest 185th Avenue and Evergreen Parkway, only to discover that the driver and his two passengers in the 2001 Suzuki SUV were on their way to burglarize a house about a mile away, said Sgt. David Thompson, sheriff's office spokesman.

The resident of the home and intended victim of the crime — a woman — was home at the time, he said.

It began as a simple traffic stop in the Tanasbourne area after a deputy noticed a motorist making an unsignaled lane change. The deputy pulled over the driver, identified as Phillips, and arrested him for driving with a revoked license.

The deputy discovered property, including credit cards and a driver's license, that belonged to a female. When questioned about the property, Phillips said he found the items and was going to return them.

Meanwhile, a second deputy arrested the front passenger, identified as Teegarden, on a felony warrant out of Multnomah County for failing to appear in court on an unspecified charge.

Deputies also noticed a glass pipe used for smoking methamphetamine in the car's center console. So they brought in a drug dog to search the car and found about 4 grams of methamphetamine inside.

With more investigation, deputies learned that the credit cards, license and keys had been stolen from a car at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl earlier in the day.

The three men were planning to smoke methamphetamine, go to the victim's house and burglarize it. Deputies seized a baseball bat, a large kitchen knife and a pry bar from the car. Deputies also arrested the rear-seat passenger, identified as Landers of Gresham.

All three suspects have criminal records including a range of charges from burglary to assault to weapons offenses.




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