Half a dozen arrested in theft ring bust

Half a dozen arrested in theft ring bust

PORTLAND, Ore. – Police arrested nearly half a dozen people Thursday who they say stole millions of dollars worth of merchandise in one of the biggest theft rings they said they’ve ever come across.

Police said a home on Northeast 109th Avenue belonged to theft ring leader, 38-year-old Steven Terrill. The home is jacked up about 12 feet in the air by wooden blocks, house jacks and steel I-beams stolen from construction sites and suppliers across the metro area over the past couple of years.

Police said it is just the tip of the iceberg and have been investigating the thefts for the past eight months.

The house on 109th Avenue is one of seven locations raided Thursday.

Police said Terrill would choose targets, his accomplices would steal items and then Terrill would sell them online.

Police arrested Terrill, 33-year-old Ethan Curtis and 20-year-old Alisha Metro for their involvement with Terrill.

Investigators said Terrill was putting some of the stolen items into his home to renovate it.

“This particular suspect would surveil businesses for items that he wanted to convert to his own use or steal and then sell,” said Detective Jeff Bender with the Portland Police Bureau. “And in this case, these windows were of particular interest to him because of his building project that he was trying to advance.”

Police found a number of stolen items in July in another bust, including a KATU News jacket taken from one of its news cars. That investigation eventually uncovered the theft ring.
Police were at the site all day letting the owners of the items reclaim them.

Theft rings and “boosting crews”

Police said they believe the theft ring got a lot of its goods from what they call “boosting crews,” which are groups of people who steal products from retail stores.

And according to court documents, two people – or one “boosting team” – could be responsible for stealing millions of dollars worth of stolen merchandise.

Investigators said they believe Richard Remington and Angela Evans stole $5 million worth of small items over a number of years.

The couple would try to fulfill handwritten “wish lists” from unidentified people, according to the court documents. Police say they believe the couple did bring some of the items they stole to Terrill’s house.

The items they are accused of stealing include shampoo, conditioner, batteries, white strips for teeth, razors, DVDs and CDs. To put in perspective how much the couple would have had to steal to equal $5 million, if on each alleged trip to steal items, the couple stole a bag worth $75 they would have had to steal more than 66,000 bags.

With the help of Safeway loss-prevention officers, police are working to tie the couple to multiple thefts at stores across the metro area.

According to court documents, employees at Safeway caught on to what was going on and picked out which van the couple was allegedly driving. A security guard then put a tracking device underneath the van to figure out which stores they were going to. They also figured out which pawn shops they visited to allegedly sell DVDs.