Thursday, July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

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Man accused of stealing ‘Star Wars’ merchandise

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

A Battle Ground man accused of stealing $30,000 worth of “Star Wars” memorabilia from a man’s private collection made a first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court.

Benjamin J. Milam, 24, appeared to face allegations of trafficking in stolen property, residential burglary and first-degree theft. He allegedly stole the merchandise and sold it to pay off a $2,250 debt, according to court records.

On Oct. 23, Richard M. Bates called 911 to report the merchandise was stolen from his Hazel Dell home. He told police he had been out of town at the time of the theft, a probable cause affidavit stated.

The following day, police located the merchandise at Showroom Collectibles, 1307 N.E. 78th St. The store’s owner identified the person who sold the items as Milam, court records said.

Police called Milam on Wednesday and explained he was the suspect in the case. Milam allegedly told police, “I screwed up.” He said he owed a debt to someone and had thought of Bates’ collection, the affidavit said.

Milam said he occasionally couch surfs at Bates’ residence, and when he was alone at the home, he used a card to unlock two doors and retrieved the merchandise. He then allegedly transported the items to the store over the course of three to four trips, he said, until he reached the dollar amount of his debt, according to court documents.

Judge Scott Collier on Monday set Milam’s bail at $10,000. Milam will retain his own defense attorney, according to court records.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 13.

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