Alleged accomplice being sought; trailer, most equipment recovered
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A Sandy man has been arrested and a woman is being sought in last week's theft of a catering trailer from the parking lot of the Madras Black Bear Diner, police said Monday, adding that most of the stolen items also were recovered and returned.
The trailer was found abandoned and emptied, but a raid on a suspect's home turned up most of the property, which was returned to the restaurant, Detective Sgt. Steve Webb said.
The catering trailer and equipment, valued at about $20,000, was taken early on the morning of March 31, Webb said. The abandoned trailer was recovered two days later in the area of the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site in east Multnomah County.
"Throughout this investigation, community members, business owners and other law enforcement agencies have worked together in a way that has culminated in the arrest of one of the individuals involved in the theft," Webb said in a news release.
Investigators learned that just before the theft, a pickup seen driving off with the trailer was spotted at the Busy Bee Market. The market's security video showed the vehicle, as well as the male suspect and his female accomplice.
Webb said the man was identified because of the credit card he used at the business about five minutes before the theft. The man was identified as Mikel R. Harris, 28, and female companion and person of interest as Charli Swan, 24.
Police learned Harris was associated with a residence in Sandy and another home in Corbett.
The Jeferson County Circuit Court issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Harris on charges of first-degree theft and aggravated theft. Madras police notified the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office of its information and the outstanding warrant.
Later Friday, Multnomah County deputies spotted the Toyota Tacoma as it left the home in Corbett and stopped it, arresting Harris.
Some Madras police officers responded to Multnomah County to take custody of Harris while others headed to his home in Sandy to execute the search warrant. No evidence of the theft was found there, but illegal narcotics were located, Webb said.
Harris was booked into the Jefferson County Jail early Saturday morning. He remained held Monday on $50,000 bail.
With information from an interview with Harris, another search warrant was obtained for the Corbett home, where a raid on Saturday recovered almost all of the diner's stolen property. It was loaded into a trailer and delivered to the restaurant Saturday evening.
Anyone with information on Swan's whereabouts or other information related to the theft is urged to contact Detective Brent Schulke through Frontier Dispatch at 541-475-2201 or Madras police at 541-475-2424.
Although this investigation is still ongoing, what has occurred at this point is an excellent example of how neighbors, business owners, and law enforcement can come together and work in a way that not only protects our community but highlights those reasons that we have decided to make Madras and Jefferson County our home," Webb said.