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Sellwood business burglars busted


Officials aren’t yet saying the smash-and-grab crime wave experienced by shopkeepers in Sellwood and Westmoreland is over. In fact, at least two burglaries have occurred in Westmoreland since the arrests we will tell you about took place.

But, many small business owners in the area breathed a sigh of relief when a man and woman were arrested in connection with at least some of the 19 pre-dawn business burglaries that have occurred, mostly in Sellwood, in the last few months.

The crimes took mere minutes, and took place in the dark, when the streets were empty and the fewest Portland Police Bureau (PPB) district officers were on patrol. THE BEE printed a long list of these crimes in our October issue.

by: MCDC BOOKING PHOTOS - Ivan Lynn Creswell, left, was arrested on September 30, after allegedly following a break-in at the Sky Box Pub in Sellwood with a break-in at Mike's Drive-In nearby, a few minutes later. Erin Nichole Saloum, right, reportedly the girlfriend and roommate of Ivan Lynn Creswell, was arrested in a separate burglary case.But, PPB Neighborhood Response Team Officer Terry Colbert told THE BEE that Central Precinct Commander Robert Day responded to the crime wave by ordering “focused patrols” of the areas, and made responding to burglar alarms a priority for area district officers.

That strategy paid off fast – early on Sunday morning, September 30 – when officers caught pair of suspects now charged with some of the break-ins. They are identified as 49-year-old Ivan Lynn Creswell, and his roommate, 37-year-old Erin Nichole Saloum.

What led up to the arrest of the suspects, PPB Burglary Task Force Detective Jim McCausland told THE BEE, was that district officers pointed out a crime pattern of using cast iron metal water meter covers to break out doors and windows – and making off with cash drawers.

“The officers ‘took it personally’ that these crimes were being committed in their district,” McCausland said.

The break in the case came when the detectives received video surveillance images that gave them a very good photo of a suspect, and a partial image of the getaway van.

Officers didn’t catch the perpetrator who smashed glass door at the Sky Box Pub, located at 7950 SE Milwaukie Avenue on September 30, but they were there very fast.

And, while investigating this attempted burglary, a second burglar alarm went off at Mike's Drive-In Restaurant, at 1707 S.E. Tenino Street – just three blocks south.

There, officers found a broken glass door and noticed that the cash drawer from the register was missing, said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson, as he continued the story.

“Officers stopped a vehicle leaving the area that matched the description of a vehicle Burglary Detectives had shared with patrol officers,” reported Simpson.

“Officers contacted the driver, who matched the suspect description from earlier incidents, and took him into custody,” Simpson added. “In the van, investigators located evidence linking the suspect to the burglary that just occurred at Mike's Drive-In.”

Creswell was booked into the Multnomah County Jail, Simpson said, but was released on his own recognizance approximately three hours later.

“We were surprised to learn that he’d been let out of jail, and was home again at his apartment, across the street,” said Mike’s Drive-in manager, Kelly Hunt.

“I was pretty sure [the suspect arrested] was Ivan [Creswell], because they said a blue Astrovan was involved with the burglaries,” Hunt continued. “There are only two blue vans that belong to people who live there – and the other one belongs to a nice gentleman who comes here all the time – he’s been a regular customer for most of the 17 years I’ve been here.”

Simpson confirmed to THE BEE that, indeed, suspect Creswell’s address was in the “1700 block of S.E. Tenino Street” – a block that contains two houses and a large, multi-story apartment building, directly across the street from the Mike’s Drive-In.

Creswell did show up at his court date on October 2 at the Multnomah County Court Building.

At his arraignment, Burglary Task Force detectives told the judge of their continuing investigation, and asked that Creswell be held in jail while they looked into additional burglary charges.

When the judge agreed, Creswell jumped up and bolted for the courtroom door – knocking over a video monitor stand on the way. But, he was immediately apprehended by McCausland and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies assigned to court security.

“Apprehending this suspect is an excellent example of good work by uniformed officers, who really know – and care about – their district,” McCausland stressed.

There are a total of 19 burglaries that could be linked to Creswell, McCausland remarked. “Those cases are still being investigated. We ask area business owners to check their video records to see if they may have captured any evidence.”

Creswell remains in custody at the Multnomah County Detention Center and is facing charges on four counts of Burglary in the Second Degree and one count of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree; his combined bail is currently set at $25,000.

Burglary detectives also arrested Erin Nichole Saloum on October 3 at 10:10 a.m. on a charge of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree, in connection with the September 22 burglary at Natural Mart at 2606 S.E. Gladstone Street.

According to MCDC records, Saloum was released from custody out of jail at about 9 pm that same evening, on the County’s “Pre-trial Release and Supervision Program”.

“From what I understand,” Hun at Mike’s Drive-In told THE BEE, “all the stuff they’d stolen was in her apartment, and they lived in his. I think he’s been living there for only a few months. I don’t recall seeing him here in the restaurant, but we have seen him looking down at us from their balcony. It was kind of creepy.”

The Crime Prevention Coordinator for Sellwood-Moreland, Jacob Brostoff, said several business owners have contacted him for “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” evaluations, since our headline story on the crime spree in October’s BEE.

“Don’t wait until you become a victim,” Brostoff said. “We’re here to help you learn how to make your home or business less prone to crime. Contact me at 503/823-0540, or e-mail me at: HYPERLINK "mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.