Antiques and family heirlooms remain unclaimed in Lake Oswego

by: VERN UYETAKE - Wendy Svaren, the Lake Oswego Police Department's evidence officer, looks over stolen property recovered from a string of Portland-area robberies. Lake Oswego police are looking for the owners of stolen property that appears to include many antiques and collectables and possibly treasured family heirlooms.

“These are pieces of people’s lives,” said Lake Oswego Property and Evidence Officer Wendy Svaren.

The tea sets, china, newspaper clippings and musical instruments are among items recovered in September 2012 from a motel and storage units in Rhododendron and later from a secondhand dealer in the Woodburn area. Authorities seized the property following an investigation into a burglary spree that took place from March to August 2012 and stretched from Beaverton and Washington County to Lake Oswego and beyond, according to police.

by: VERN UYETAKE - A coin collection hasnt yet been claimed by the victim of a burglary in the Portland area. It's one of many recovered items that appear to be collectibles or family heirlooms but whose owners have not been identified.Many of the burglaries targeted high-end homes, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, which reported last fall that two people were in custody for the crimes.

The thieves typically removed power meters to try to disable home alarm systems. Rosanne McCausland, 28, was arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms stolen in the local crimes, and Thomas Phelps, now 39, was arrested at the Snowline Motel in Rhododendron. Both are listed as inmates at the Washington County Jail.

Authorities have managed to identify the rightful owners of many recovered items but are still looking for some, said Svaren on Monday. It’s possible that people didn’t even realize they were the victims of a crime or knew but never reported it.

The property might belong to homeowners in Lake Oswego but could belong to residents of other cities in the Portland metro VERN UYETAKE - Police recovered a variety of musical instruments following an investigation of burglaries in the metro area.

“We were able to identify some victims; some were from our city here, some were from Southeast Portland, and some stuff came from the Southwest Washington, Beaverton and Washington County areas,” Svaren said. “But what we have left, it’s unidentified — we don’t know who it belongs to.

"We’re making another effort to return these items. They’re important to someone."

According to police, much of the property likely has little monetary value "but perhaps holds tremendous sentimental value."

“There's a little tiny coin purse. It looks to be at least 100 years old,” Svaren said. “In this purse are these old, old buttons. That belongs to someone who would probably be really excited to get it back.”

The evidence also includes a large haul of stringed instruments such as violins, banjos and electric guitars.

There are as many as 50 vintage cups and saucers, “little tea sets like your grandmother may have had,” Svaren said, along with an entire set of Wedgwood china that looks to be “brand new in boxes.”

In addition, the recovered property includes a large stack of newspaper clippings from the 1940s and some Chicago newspaper pages from 1928 and 1929 that mention Abraham VERN UYETAKE - This collectible Diana doll was recovered from a string of 2012 area burglaries along with vintage tea sets, a coin collection and historical newspapers.

Anyone who believes they might own some of these items should contact Svaren by calling the police department, 503-635-0238.

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