WL Police respond to three burglaries in one weekend
West Linn Police responded to three separate burglaries over the weekend, arresting two suspects in the process.
Police said the three incidents were unrelated, though in a press release they noted that "all could have resulted in tragedy."
The trouble began Friday, Dec. 1, at around 3 p.m. when a resident heard a window break and saw a man entering her neighbor's house near Clark Street and Oregon City Boulevard. According to police, the woman called 911 immediately and officers were able to arrest the suspect. Kevin Heuple, 47, was transferred to a hospital after cutting his hand during the break-in, according to WLPD spokesperson Jeff Halverson.
The second burglary happened later that evening at about 8:45 p.m. near Cottonwood Court and Hidden Springs Road. According to police, the suspect — 25-year-old James O'Neill IV — went for a walk after a fight with his girlfriend and broke into five vehicles and one house.
The homeowner, Jan Rimerman, said she'd just returned home and was speaking to her husband on the phone when she heard a knock at her front door.
"By the time I got the question mark on my sentence (asking who was there), I heard a smashing glass sound," Rimerman said. "It sounded like the entire lower level (of the house) had been broken in."
Rimerman started yelling and told her husband to call 911. O'Neill left the house and with the help of the Lake Oswego Police Department K-9 Unit, West Linn officers were able to track him down and arrest him for first degree attempted burglary.
Rimerman was shaken by the incident and said the broken glass "impaled everything" in the downstairs area when O'Neill threw a log through the window. A printer, computer monitor and lamp were among the items that were severely damaged.
Yet another incident took place early on the morning of Dec. 3, as a woman in a gated community awoke around 5:30 a.m. to find a man standing in her bedroom doorway. An external door at the home — which was located near Cascade Terrace and Lorinda Lane — had been left unlocked, according to police, and the suspect entered through that door.
The suspect fled after being discovered by the woman and her husband, and about 20 minutes passed before police were called. Police were able to recover the woman's purse, but did not find the suspect. Halverson said this may have been due to the 20 minute lag before the 911 call.
"Give us a call right away, let us come look for them," Halverson said. "That's what we're here for — that's our job."
According to Halverson, the male burglary victim instead decided to search for the suspect himself before eventually calling the police.
"It was just instinct — 'Oh, I'll look for this guy,'" Halverson said. "They weren't trying to keep it from us, just going off instinct and trying to find someone."
As of Monday morning, police had yet to locate a suspect for the third burglary.
"We're still digging in and hope to get a result soon," Halverson said.
Police provided several tips for how to best avoid or respond to burglaries:
— Call 911 immediately. The police have the skills and resources to catch criminals, but their success is time-sensitive. The faster you call the police, the higher the chances of success.
— Lock your house. Criminals are less likely to enter if you restrict access to your home.
— Don't leave valuable items in your car. Vehicles are a common target because they are easy to break into. Make sure to keep your car locked as well.