PORTLAND A Portland man was arrested Wednesday for reportedly forging hundreds of TriMet passes, officials said Friday.

Transit police have spent the past few months using security cameras and plainclothes officers to track down reports of fraudulent tickets, said TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt.

Police served a search warrant Wednesday night in the Estate Motel at 225 NW Couch St., where they found a stack of more than 600 blank tickets and a monthly pass that was likely used for the forgeries, Altstadt said.

Efren Escarsega, Jr., 39, was arrested and jailed on several charges, including first-degree theft and conspiracy to commit forgery.

This type of crime is frustrating because it hurts everyone including the agency, our employees and our customers who pay their fare, TriMet safety director Harry Saporta said Friday. Transit Police officers are dedicated to identifying individuals who commit crimes on our system. The hard work of the Transit Response Team, along with our security tools, was key in making this important arrest.

Altstadt said Escarsega possibly forged more than 1,000 tickets.

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