A Sisters, Ore., man was arrested Wednesday morning in connection with a series of construction site and heavy equipment thefts around the Vancouver and Portland areas.
Paul Weston, 46, was lodged into the Deschutes County Jail in Oregon on suspicion of one count of first-degree aggravated theft, four counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, seven counts of trafficking in vehicles with destroyed or altered identification numbers, four counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle and one count of unlawful possession of fentanyl.
The Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team identified Weston as the suspect in the thefts after receiving several community tips and a report from a Deschutes County sheriff’s deputy. Weston was also arrested last month on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamine and fentanyl, according to an agency news release.
The initial investigation alleges Weston stole dump trailers, a car trailer, side-by-side ATVs, a skid steer loader, a bucket loader and a tractor from various locations around Portland and Vancouver over a two-month period. He brought the stolen property to his home, where he obliterated serial numbers and painted equipment to disguise it. Detectives said it appears he was later selling or renting the equipment for profit, the news release states.
Detectives served a search warrant at Weston’s home. The estimated value of the recovered equipment is $225,000, according to the news release.
Some of the recovered equipment has been matched with the victims of the thefts. However, detectives are still unable to match three of the dump trailers and a skid steer loader to the victims, the news release states.
Anyone with information about the unclaimed equipment or who recently purchased anything from Weston should contact Detective Jeff Pope at 541-388-6655 and reference case number 22-69589.