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Day: May 23, 2011

Major theft ring suspect arrested in Keizer

Robert Stone walking from a stolen Jeep used to steal the Haz Mat trailer from Tualatin Valley Hospital.

A man authorities called the “primary suspect” in an auto-theft ring was arrested in Keizer Monday morning.

His arrest came after a 6:40 a.m. phone call from the Goodwill Industries store on River Road reporting a shoplifter who had asked a loss control staffer “if he knew anyone interested in buying some drugs,” according to Don Thomson, a spokesman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect is believed to be involved in thefts of a vehicle, four trailers and other stolen property. Polie

The suspect was found in the parking lot by Keizer Police Officers Arsen Avetisyan and Joel Hageman as the suspect was getting into a vehicle, later identified as stolen from Hillsboro.

He was arrested after a short foot chase. Arrested was Robert Alan Stone, 40, of Turner, for theft, two counts each of unlawful use of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property, probation violation, interfering with a police officer and possession and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance.

The arrest came more than a week after Marion County deputies recovered a stolen Jeep Cherokee and trailer on Fern Ridge Road SE a few miles east of Stayton Friday, May 13. Acting on an anonymous tip, deputies arrived to see two men and the Cherokee; one fled in the Jeep while another fled on foot into nearby bushes.

Arrested closeby was Jeremiah Rew, 35, of Lyons. He was arrested for trespassing, interfering with a police officer and parole violation.

A second stolen vehicle was found later that day near the Shellberg Falls trailhead on Fern Ridge Road; it’s believed to have been used in a hazardous materials trailer theft from Tualatin Valley Hospital on May 7.

That trailer and most of its contents were found in a Mill Creek Road home. Two more trailers were found near another home on Fern Ridge Road. According to deputies, suspects tricked a 90-year-old woman into storing the trailers on her property.

Two other deputies, Paul Vasta and Senior Deputy nancy Hubbard, spotted a green Ford pickup truck pulling a trailer they later learned to be stolen. Police identified the driver as Terrence Grandy, 49, of Marion. He was arrested for theft.

Drug detection dogs rely on discerning sniffers

Marion County Sheriff Office’s drug detection dog Milos makes a pass of lockers at McNary High School. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)


Of the Keizertimes

The Marion County Sheriff’s drug detection dogs are the contradiction of what most people have come to expect of canines used in law enforcement circles. The proof is all in the attitude.

Unlike the reserved posture of K-9s used to track down suspects, the trio of pups are all about playing.

“These dogs are here to play. The whole world to them is a game,” said Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Landers, and handler of Misty, a retriever. Misty and Bailey, a chocolate lab, earn time with a tennis ball after a successful search, while Milos, a German shepherd, prefers a piece of garden hose.

“We go through about 50-foot of hose every year,” said Deputy Sheriff Todd Swendsen.

All three dogs spent last Saturday afternoon training at McNary High School and their handlers set up an impromptu demonstration for a small group of spectators that turned out to find out more about the dogs and their job.

“We like to train in different venues every time we’re out because the dogs get a real sense of a place once they’ve been there a few times,” Landers said.

All three dogs shared an excitable personality, but there is a key difference to how they respond to “hitting” on the scent of one of the four drugs they are trained to detect – cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin.

Misty and Bailey are trained for passive alerts meaning they will lie down at the site where they detect the odor, but Milos has an aggressive alert.

“He’ll scratch and bark at anything and sometimes it gets destroyed. It one of the reasons he spends 90 percent of his time at the jail,” Swendsen said.

Each of the handlers trains with the dogs to learn the animals’ specific cues and triggers.

“We get used to what the dogs do during a specific alerts,” Landers said. “When Misty comes into the odor, her head snaps back to the place where it’s the strongest, her body posture changes, respiration level changes and her mouth closes. We might recognize that in another dog, but knowing our specific dog helps.”

The reason law enforcement officers continue to use dogs over scientific instruments is simply because the are the best tool for the job, said Deputy Dale Huitt, Bailey’s handler.

“We have yet to develop technology that can detect levels as minute as what a dog can. The dog smells every little tiny component of an odor so no matter what is done to disguise [a drug], they’ll pick it up,” Huitt said.

While at McNary, the dogs ran a check of the school’s lockers and bathrooms, but the visit was announced beforehand, said John Honey, McNary principal. Any lockers where the dogs detected suspicious odors were searched and Honey planned on talking with the students assigned to the locker if anything was found.

“The intent isn’t to create opportunities for arrest, but to discourage students from bringing that kind of stuff onto our campus,” Honey said. “The idea is that we get to the point that we can do unannounced visits by the dogs without any disruption.”

Anyone looking to learn more about the Marion County drug dogs should stop by Petco in Keizer Station during the Iris Festival. The dogs and their handlers will be performing demonstrations.