Police swamped by calls about stolen items

About $50,000 worth of stolen property was recovered last week

By Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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The Vancouver Police Department has been inundated with calls since announcing Saturday that investigators had recovered more than $50,000 worth of stolen property.

The agency’s East and West Neighborhood Response Teams served search warrants on a storage unit and vehicle, where they recovered a large amount of stolen goods, including high-end bicycles, power tools, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, firearms, musical instruments and hand tools. A U-Haul truck and a van were used to haul it all, said police spokeswoman Kim Kapp.

Staff aren’t able to manage the number of calls that have come in from people trying to retrieve belongings, Kapp said. Investigators are still evaluating and inventorying the property, which is considered evidence in the case against suspect Dustin P. Medeiros, 30. He was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of multiple charges, including possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm and possession of an unlawful firearm.

Neighbors on Watch volunteers helped catalog items over the weekend. Vancouver police will reach out to property owners they’ve been able to match with most of the items. For the rest of the stuff, police will be posting pictures on the city’s website to try and connect the items with their rightful owners.

People are asked not to call 911, the police department or its evidence unit about the stolen property.

The more than $50,000 worth of property that was stolen represents a small fraction of what’s reported stolen each year. Often, people don’t get their property back. People should keep the serial numbers of valuables, keep that information in a safe place and file a detailed report if belongings are stolen. This helps police match stolen property with the true owners.