Thousands of stolen respirator masks are now on their way to local hospitals after the supplies were recovered by a joint Portland and Beaverton police investigation.
Vladislav Vlado Drozdek, 42, of Beaverton, was booked into the Washington County Jail on a charge of first-degree theft. Further charges are possible.
"This was a good example of interagency teamwork and cooperation, along with some helpful detective work by the victim," said Assistant Portland Police Chief of Operations Mike Frome. "This is even more significant during a time when these medical supplies are in such short supply."
The investigation started on Friday, March 6, when a North Precinct officer responded to The Rebuilding Center at 3625 North Mississippi Avenue on a theft report involving 20 to 25 cases of N95 respirator masks. Each case had 400 masks in it, and the total loss was close to $2,500. There was no suspect information at the time.
The next day, the victim found someone selling what she believed to be the stolen masks on the online classified listings platform CraigsList. She set up a meeting in Beaverton and contacted the Beaverton Police Department, who arrived and arrested Drozdek.
About six cases of the masks were recovered, but the rest are still missing.
After a follow-up investigation by both agencies, Portland Police were able to locate at least seven more boxes that were stored inside a house in the 13900 block of Northeast Sacramento Street on Saturday, March 21. The officer returned the boxes to the victim, who immediately donated the masks to local hospitals to help them while they're dealing with the coronavirus.
Drozdek has been released from the Washington County jail, per records.
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