Thursday, May 26, 2022
May 26, 2022

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Vancouver man in court in generator’s theft from Legacy Salmon Creek

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

A Vancouver man who allegedly stole a generator from Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center was arrested after calling the Clark County Sheriff’s Office with an anonymous tip that the stolen machine was at his friend’s house.

John James Jurgens, 39, reportedly submitted the tip after he loaned the generator to his friend, and the friend refused to give it back to him, court records say.

Jurgens appeared Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree theft and two warrants for failing to appear at drug court review hearings, court records show. His bail was set at $10,000, and he is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Legacy staff reported the $28,000 generator, which powered the emergency department’s overflow tent, missing in September. Two people were seen on the hospital’s security video hooking up a pickup to the generator, according to the sheriff’s office. A Legacy staff member said the thieves had to cut off locks and chains to drive off with the generator.

Phone number tracked

On Nov. 26, the sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip with the location of the generator. Deputies determined the tipster’s phone number belonged to Jurgens. In the tip, Jurgens claimed a man had tried to sell him the generator, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Deputies went to the address Jurgens provided. A man staying there told them his friend, identified as Jurgens, let him borrow the generator to power his trailer. He also told deputies that a few days prior, Jurgens came in the early morning to pick up the generator. However, he refused to give it to Jurgens because of the time, the affidavit says.

The man showed deputies text messages from earlier in the week in which Jurgens allegedly said he’d arrived to get the generator back, according to court records.

Deputies had been dispatched four days prior to an argument at the property, and call notes state Jurgens and his friend were fighting over a generator, according to the affidavit.

A Legacy Salmon Creek employee identified the generator as the one stolen from the hospital and picked it up. Deputies said Jurgens’ pickup matched the description of the one seen on security video hauling the generator, the affidavit says.

A search warrant for Jurgens’ phone also showed it pinged off a tower located across the street from the hospital at the time of the theft, according to the affidavit.

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