CORNELIUS, Ore. - “You just feel violated,” Karl Goetze said.
In more than 100 years his family has owned their Oregon Century farm outside Cornelius, it hasn't needed a gate, until now.
The ripped-off riding lawn mower was found by Washington County sheriff's investigators and returned.
“Now we bought a replacement about a month before they told us they're recovered our original one,” Goetze said.
The thieves busted through some doors.
Other locks sliced open have new cut-resistant locks.
“The expense of the fence and all this kind of stuff just, just to feel safe again is the... that's the ugly part,” Goetze stated.
Sheriff's investigators say a half-dozen suspects renting a house at 24490 S.W. Farmington Road packed it full with over 900 items stolen in a crime spree that started around the first of the year.
There are dozens of rifles, handguns and knives alone, from homes and property in the areas around Cornelius, Hillsboro and Forest Grove.
In April, detectives got a tip about who was responsible for the burglaries.
“I mean this house looked essentially like a hoarders house,” according to Sgt. Bob Ray of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “It had that much property in it that had not been sold or given away or traded or whatever they were doing with it.”
An ATV, a die-cast metal vintage model airplane and a unique roasted peanut machine were all stolen too, but haven't been found yet.
The burglaries leave Karl Goetze both grateful and sad.
“I'm just thankful nobody was hurt,” said Goetze. “It's a shame though to lose that trust that we've built up over those 100-plus years that we've had this place.”
The sheriff’s office has identified suspects in the case, but isn’t ready to make arrests yet.
Investigators want to find owners of stolen items to help build case against suspects. Click here to help identify stolen property.