Crime of opportunity: Burglar pounced as couple turned backs

Somebody exploited a brief window when nobody was at home

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

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Have you seen a baseball lately that was signed by Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew and says, “To Jory,” an unusual first name?

How about a 1940s-era chrome-top cigarette lighter with a fish hook that floats in the fluid, and once belonged to a local man’s grandfather?

Or an old German-made Puma-brand Hunter’s Pal knife with an antler handle, stamped with the number 56984?

David and Andrea Osborn say these and about 20 other items, including valuable gold jewelry, were stolen on Feb. 8 in a grab-and-run burglary at their home in the Sifton area, northeast of Orchards.

What’s odd is that it happened between 6 and 7 a.m., while David Osborn drove his wife to a local hospital and dropped her off for a medical procedure that involved sedation.

“We’re always here at 6 a.m.,” said David Osborn. “I’m never gone at 6 a.m. Someone knew we were leaving.”

When he arrived back home about 7 a.m., the house had been turned upside down, with drawers pulled out and their contents dumped on the floor.

Documents with personal information were left on the floor.

“I don’t think they were into ID theft,” he said.

As he looked around and called 911, he found that an intruder had dropped his expensive fishing pole at the home’s sliding glass back door, indicating that the thief — or thieves — left hastily there, possibly upon hearing him return.

‘Just small stuff’

The thief likely entered the home via the back slider, which had been left unlocked, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office report.

The items that were stolen were worth an estimated $3,500 and seemed to be things the thief could readily sell. They included a fishing reel, man’s watch, rings that once belonged to Andrea Osborn’s mother and grandmother, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, a coin collection and a cell phone.

“Just small stuff,” the husband said. “Things the thief could turn over real fast.”

As of Friday, none of the stolen items had been recovered, he said, and he doesn’t expect to get them back. But he would like to see the case solved and the thief arrested.

None of the couple’s friends and family members told anyone about the medical appointment, David Osborn said.

Did the thief just happen to be in the area and see the couple drive away?

Or was there a leak from a hospital employee, he wonders?

But there’s no evidence of any hospital connection, police say.

Sheriff’s Detective Tom Yoder, who is investigating the burglary, said he’s heard of no similar thefts while someone was away from home for a medical procedure.

Anyone with information, including the whereabouts of the Harmon Killebrew baseball signed “to Jory” and other items, can call Yoder at 360-397-2211, Ext. 5305.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.