Car break-in spree reported in Wilsonville, West Linn area
When Wilsonville resident Logan Kelley went out for a round of golf in rural Wilsonville on Sunday, he didn't expect to be the victim of a crime.
But about an hour after he teed off at Kohl Creek Golf Course, he received word from staff that about eight cars — including his dad's Porsche — had been robbed.
Around the same time that day, there were also thefts at Sandelie Golf Course and Hebb Park in West Linn.
"It's very upsetting," said Karen Kaiser, an owner of Kohl Creek and Sandelie. "We've never had anything like this happen."
According to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, there were two reports of someone smashing a car window and stealing items from vehicles at Hebb Park around the early afternoon Sunday, one similar report at Kohl Creek and four reports at Sandelie. However, they noted that sometimes these incidents go unreported. Both Kaiser and Kelley said seven or eight cars were broken into at Kohl Creek, while Kelley said he had heard there were about seven car break-ins at Hebb Park and Kaiser said two cars were broken into at Sandelie.
Kelley and Kaiser said purses and other valuable items were stolen in the spree. They added that credit and debit cards incurred significant charges shortly following the incident.
Kelley said he believes the incidents are connected, though authorities have not confirmed that theory.
"It had to be the same people because they were hit at the same time," he said. "There were massive tire marks going toward Kohl Creek (at Hebb Park). We think they got hit first and then came to Kohl Creek. It's too much of a coincidence for those two to be so close together and for them not be related."
Both Kelley and Kaiser were dismayed about what they said was a lack of police response to the incident. They said the police essentially took down victims' information over the phone but did not visit the scene. Kelley said one eye witness saw someone breaking into a car, then fleeing the scene.
"Why doesn't the sheriff talk to that guy and get an eyewitness report?" Kelley said.
Kohl Creek and Sandelie are outside of the jurisdiction of officers who patrol Wilsonville. CCSO said they filed reports but did not elaborate when asked about a possible lack of response to the incident. However, Wilsonville Police Chief Rob Wurpes said that a lack of staffing means responses to car break-ins often get pushed to the backburner in terms of police response. He added that evidence at the scene as to who committed the crimes increases the likelihood of police deployment. However, Kelley said there wasn't any evidence in this instance.
"Car break-ins unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, is a low-priority call," Wurpes said. "There's (usually) not a lot of evidence to work with to solve those. If someone has evidence we can work with, we will send somebody out."
The golf course owner, who said that she has only experienced one minor break-in in decades at the course, said they would add security cameras.
"It's just so disheartening. We work so hard to have great customer service. Half the people (golfing), it was their first time here," Kaiser said.
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