Thieves target semi-truck twice in a week

Portland vehicle is found in Clark County both times

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Bridgetown Trucking Inc. of Portland is trying to unravel why a leased 2010 Peterbilt Model 379 semi-truck was stolen twice in less than a week from its Northeast Airport Way lot in Portland and found in two separate locations in Clark County.

"It was stolen in the same manner, and they used the same to methods to get into it and get it started," said Dave Chalmers, owner of Bridgetown Trucking.

It's unknown whether the thefts are related, whether the culprit in the second theft knew the truck had already been stolen or whether the thefts were committed by different parties.

"It might have been an unfortunate coincidence," Chalmers said. "How could it be the same guys?"

The truck, which is leased from DSU Peterbilt GMC of Portland, was first stolen at 4:31 a.m. July 16 from Bridgetown Trucking, 14135 N.E. Airport Way in Portland, according to Gary Ryan, owner of GPS AnyPlace, which had a tracking device on the truck. A screwdriver was used to unlock and start the vehicle, Chalmers said.

The truck crossed the Interstate 205 bridge to Clark County and ended up on Northeast 209th Street in the Duluth area.

Anthony Lukens, 46, of Portland was arrested at 12:40 p.m. July 16 on a charge of first-degree possession of stolen property, according to the Clark County Sheriff's Office. He was found at the Duluth-area address with the Peterbilt and another semitrailer from another company, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Fred Neiman. He was stripping the other truck when police arrived, Chalmers said.

The case was cleared by Lukens' arrest, Neiman said.

But that wasn't the end of the story.

At about midnight Saturday, the same truck was stolen again from the Bridgetown Trucking lot, Chalmers said. As in the first theft, a screwdriver was used to unlock and start the vehicle, he said.

Chalmers didn't know the truck was missing until a security guard from Target at 500 N.E. 88th St. in Hazel Dell called and said the truck was found in Target's parking lot and appeared to have been broken into.

Chalmers called Portland police. A Portland dispatcher advised him that if he wanted to go ahead and retrieve the truck, he could file a stolen vehicle report and recovery report afterwards rather than filing a report and waiting for Portland to ask Clark County sheriff's deputies to take a report. He said he hadn't filed the report as of Monday afternoon. Hence, no police comment on the second theft was available.

Thefts of parts and vehicles are common in the complex where Bridgetown Trucking is located, but the theft of the same truck in less than a week was extraordinary, Chalmers said.

The company plans to place more surveillance cameras on the property to avoid further losses.

"We have had a problem in the complex, and we hope we can do something about it," Chalmers said.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Trends; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.