Lake Oswego among 40 places hit in Northwest crime spree

Three suspects who may have committed more than 40 burglaries throughout the Portland Metropolitan area were recently arrested in Houston, Texas by Washington County Sheriff’s detectives.

Lake Oswego was one of the cities hit in the wave of gold, jewelry and currency thefts that occurred in April 2011. The crime wave also included Washington County, Portland, Beaverton, Clackamas County and Vancouver.

The crimes were widespread geographically and involved law enforcement from many jurisdictions. Investigators found that the crimes were similar enough to convince them that a group of criminals was coming into the area periodically to commit these crimes in waves and then fleeing the state.

The three suspects arrested are:

n Rodney Portocarrero Riascos, 18, lodged in Houston and awaiting extradition.

n Deenys Yossimar Ramos, 24, lodged in Houston and awaiting extradition.

n Ana Maria Gutierrez, 32, lodged in Washington County Jail. She faces nine different charges including burglary, felony theft, robbery and kidnapping. She is being held on $1.5 million bail.

A fourth suspect, Vanderley Ortiz, age 30, is believed to be hiding from authorities in Vancouver, BC. A warrant has been issued for Ortiz, who is a suspect in more than 10 different crimes.

In their search for the suspects, Washington County Sheriff’s Detectives reached out to local agencies to form a regional task force, including the Portland Police Bureau, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, and police departments from Beaverton, Gresham, Tigard, Tualatin, and Vancouver. The task force connected the local crimes to similar crimes in Texas, Colorado, Virginia, Georgia and Washington. Through extensive analysis it was discovered that the persons responsible for the crimes were based in Texas.

The method used in the crimes was for the suspects to arrive in the Portland Metro area in rented vehicles, commit burglaries, then quickly return to Texas. They purchased tools from local hardware stores to use in the crimes, then threw them away before making their get-away. They targeted victims who they believed would have gold or jewelry in their homes. They would then break in while the residents were away.

On two occasions, suspects discovered residents unexpectedly at home. In these cases they bound the victims during the robberies. No one was hurt in these incidents.

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