LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. – Police believe they’ve cracked a serial burglary case that targeted the Portland Metro area and now they’re trying to find the owners of hundreds of items seized during the investigation.
The string of burglaries stretched across Washington County, Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Southwest Washington between March and September of last year. Police said, in most of the cases, the suspects would remove the power meters at the homes, then disable the alarm systems and sneak inside. They think the suspects chose many of their victims by searching on Facebook for people who were out of town on vacation.
During the investigation, police said they found more than $100,000 worth of stolen property in storage units and a motel in Rhododendron. Other items were recovered from a second-hand dealer in the Woodburn area.
The stolen items included family heirlooms such as tea sets, china, old newspaper clippings and musical instruments which may hold tremendous sentimental value, investigators said.
"This pen has a note with it that indicates it is from someone's great, great grandfather and given to them," said Wendy Svaren with the Lake Oswego Police Department. "It's a piece of their life."
The second-hand dealer told investigators he got the items from Thomas Phelps, 28, of Rhododendron. He was arrested last Tuesday for 21 charges, including burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. A second suspect, Roseanne McCausland, 28, was arrested in St. George, Utah, on a weapons charge on September 1.
Police were circulating photos of the stolen property Monday, hoping people might recognize things and come forward so the items can be returned to their rightful owners. Anyone who thinks they might be one of the victims can call the evidence officer at 503-635-0250.