A traffic stop Jan. 12 in The Dalles led to the discovery of a cache of stolen items in Dallesport, according to The Dalles Police Department.
Juan Miguel Angel Medina, 24, of The Dalles, and Christopher Zoey Schwarzbach, 24, of Dallesport, were arrested following the stop near The Dalles marina.
Thousands of dollars worth of stolen industrial pruning equipment, chain saws and concrete cutting saws were found at a home in Dallesport after police obtained a search warrant based on information gained from one of the suspects at the traffic stop, said The Dalles Police Detective Austin Ell.
Most of the stolen items have been returned to their owners, and most of it was from burglaries in the White Salmon/Bingen area, he said. It is possible some items were stolen from The Dalles, but that remains under investigation.
Leads in the case included surveillance video of burglaries in Washington, Ell said.
As to why tools specifically were stolen, Ell said, “In the drug culture, tools are almost a form of currency; they’re very easily transferable. It’s something that’s commonly stolen just because it’s easy to sell, easy to transport. There’s a whole underground market for it.”
The tools were stolen from both commercial and residential properties, and Ell said he believed the places were targeted because of “convenience more than anything.”
Also found at the Dallesport property were multiple guns, Ell said.
Victims who’ve already had their property returned to them had described what was stolen to police before the men were arrested, or had provided serial numbers for the items, Ell said.
Multiple officers were involved in the stop of the vehicle. Medina, of The Dalles, briefly fled police, but was found in the shrubbery at the exit 85 overpass, Ell said.
He was arrested on charges of a parole violation, third-degree escape, and unlawful possession of a schedule III controlled substance.
Schwarzbach was arrested on charges of hindering prosecution and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
On Thursday, Schwarzbach was arraigned in Hood River County Circuit Court on felony charges of first-degree burglary, aggravated first-degree theft, two counts of first-degree theft, and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, said Hood River County District Attorney John Sewell.
All the charges stem from a burglary in Hood River County, he said. “I know that a substantial amount of property from our burglary was recovered there that linked him to our burglary.”
Aggravated theft is charged when the value of items stolen is $10,000 or more. The first-degree theft charges stem from two firearms that were found among the stolen items, Sewell said.
Schwarzbach was appointed an attorney and is due back in court next Thursday, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. He is being held at the regional jail on $25,000 cash bail, Sewell said.
Anyone with information regarding these or any other burglaries is encouraged to call The Dalles Police Department at 541-296-2613.
Additional agencies participating in the investigation are the Bingen/White Salmon Police Department, Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.