PORTLAND -- In 2013, Robert Scott Tomlinson spent a lot of time living in Washington County hotels. He was in at least nine of them, according to Hillsboro detectives, and never paid for his extended stays.
"He looks like he has mobility issues and he would tell people he looks that way because he was blown up in the Iraq war," said Hillsboro police detective Pat Brady.
Brady's been working the case since early 2013. Tomlinson never served in the military, because he has cerebral palsy, Brady said.
Tomlinson's credit cards were always denied when he made purchases. Hotel managers told KGW that Tomlinson talked them into letting him call his credit card company to get what's called an "override code."
"They enter the code..but it doesn't matter what (credit card) number they enter. It's a flaw in the system and it forces the transaction to go through," Brady said.
Police believe Tomlinson pulled off the same scheme to buy everything from trailers, to trucks and cars. They said he usually resold his purchases on CraigsList for quick cash.
"He was looking at one of our pre-owned trucks, it was over $40,000," said Michael Doherty with Doherty Ford in Cottage Grove.
Police said Doherty's dealership was one of the few that didn't fall for the scheme.
Investigators got an arrest warrant for Tomlinson and took him into custody in Montgomery County Maryland on Monday.
Authorities hope to have him extradited to Oregon to face a long list of theft charges.
Investigators believe there are more victims.
"I'm a veteran," Brady said Thursday. "I served my country and it's our nation's birthday. So when we have the opportunity to put the thumb down on a guy who is exploiting that it makes us feel good."
If you know anything about the case, you are asked to contact Hillsboro Police.