Sheriff's department makes residential burglary and copper theft arrests

OKANOGAN – Tis the season for crime, at least that’s what the sheriff’s department has been experiencing as investigations have led to arrests for residential burglaries and thefts of copper wire.
Two juveniles nabbed for theft of Christmas presents
On Friday, Dec. 16 Deputy Laura Wright responded around noon to a residence on the Monse Bridge about a report of a burglary and vehicle theft, according to Sheriff Frank Rogers.
“It appears that the suspects had kicked in the front door of the residence sometime during the day and stole several Christmas presents and then took the victim’s vehicle,” Sheriff Rogers said. “The same residence had been burglarized around a month ago, just before Thanksgiving.”
At around 4:15 p.m. the same day, the victim of the burglary and theft located their vehicle parked in a parking lot in Brewster. Deputy Wright responded to the scene along with officers from the Brewster Police Department. As the investigation continued they learned the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office had arrested a 15-year-old male earlier in the day for burglaries in Douglas County. Evidence showed that the same juvenile was possibly involved in the burglary in Okanogan County, according to Rogers.
“It appears that the 15-year-old suspect had also stolen his parents vehicle and when they located it they found several stolen items in it. The 15-year-old’s parents called law enforcement to report the incident which led to the arrest of the juvenile,” said Rogers.
The juvenile suspect from Bridgeport was later booked into the Douglas County Juvenile Center. Almost every one of the stolen Christmas presents and the stolen vehicle from Okanogan County were located and returned to the owner, according to the sheriff. Once the juvenile is finished in Douglas County he will be charged with residential burglary, vehicle theft, theft in the second degree and possession of stolen property in the second degree for the Okanogan County crimes.
The following Sunday a second juvenile suspect was arrested in connection with the same case. Deputy Wright located another 15-year-old, this one from Brewster.
“(The juvenile) was involved in the burglary of the residence on the Dec. 16 but not the one back in November,” said Rogers, adding the first juvenile arrested was involved in the burglary around Thanksgiving and will be also charged with that burglary.
The Brewster suspect was booked into the Okanogan County Juvenile Center for residential burglary, vehicle theft, theft in the second degree and possession of stolen property in the second degree.
“Everyone involved in this case did a great job, especially the victims and the parents. We are just glad that we were able to get almost everything returned to the rightful owners,” said Rogers.
Shoe prints lead to burglary arrests
In an unrelated burglary that occurred on Friday, Dec. 16, shoe prints led to the arrest of a suspect in the burglary of the La Espiga De Oro Market on First Ave. in Okanogan.
Deputy Tim Newton responded to the market regarding a burglary. The investigation showed the suspect had broken into the store and stole several items, including money, beer, food, a handtruck and several other items. At the scene Deputy Newton located shoe prints left by the suspect.
“When Deputy Newton left he began driving around town checking several other areas to see if he could locate the shoe prints. He was able to track them for a while but then lost them in the area where the snow had melted,” said Rogers.
As the day continued the deputy handled several other calls but when he got caught up he went back to looking for the suspect shoe prints around town. In the afternoon, he located the suspect’s prints again near south Fifth Ave. in Okanogan.
“Deputy Newton continued to follow the tracks which eventually led him to a residence where he discovered a beer can outside on the road which matched the type that was stolen and he could see a hand truck next to the front door which was identified as one stolen from the store,” said the sheriff.
Newton, along with Detective Kreg Sloan, eventually made contact at the residence and while there spoke with and arrested Patrick M. Crawley, 24, of Omak. While at the residence they also recovered most of the stolen items, including the money, beer and several other items which were stolen from the grocery store, according to Rogers.
“Deputy Newton did an incredible job on this one, especially while handling calls and being able to go back and continue to search for the shoe prints which eventually led to an arrest and the recovery of the stolen property….he was kind of like a pitbull on this one,” said the sheriff.
Rogers added the case is still ongoing and it is believed there are other suspects involved, not only in this case, but possibly in several other burglaries and thefts in the Omak and Okanogan area.
Arrests made in copper thefts
Over the last few months there have been numerous wire theft cases. Someone had been going around to fields around the county and climbing onto the pivot irrigation systems and stealing the electrical copper wire from them, according to the sheriff.
“If they didn’t steal the wire, they still ended up damaging the machines. There have been several victims and the thefts and damages have been in the thousands of dollars. The Sheriff’s Office has been working with several of the ranchers and farmers attempting to catch the suspects,” Rogers said.
On Friday, Dec. 16 at around 8 a.m. Deputy Newton was at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds on another complaint. While there a vehicle pulled in with a suspect Newton had been looking for. The suspect, Gary E. Hendrickson, 30, of Omak, had arrived at the Agriplex to pick up one of the free Christmas baskets. The deputy contacted Hendrickson regarding another complaint he was working on in which Hendrickson was a suspect. Prior to being transported to the Sheriff’s Office the suspect was searched and the deputy found several things in his pockets, including several pieces of copper wire.
“After further investigating and question Hendrickson admitted he had stolen wire and damaged one of the pivot irrigation systems,” said the sheriff.
Hendrickson was later transported to the Okanogan County Jail and booked on theft charges.
“At this time the investigation is ongoing. Deputies last night seized a vehicle and search warrants will be issued in the next few days. It is believed Hendrickson is also involved in several other thefts in the area,” Rogers said.
In a follow up, Rogers said Newton had made a second arrest in connection with the copper theft. On Sunday, Dec. 18 the deputy arrested Amber R. Olson, 24, of Omak, for theft in the first degree.
“Olson was with Gary Hendrickson when the copper wire was stolen from several of the pivot irrigation systems. The investigation shows that they stole wire from several different systems which are located around the Omak and Okanogan area.
“Olson showed Deputy Newton several different areas where they had gone to steal the wire. The value of the stolen wire and damages is in the thousands of dollars. Olson was later booked into the Okanogan County Jail,” Rogers said.
Pushing, shoving and hair pulling at fairgrounds
On Saturday, Dec. 17 Deputy Newton responded to the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex at around 7 a.m. regarding a report of a fight. When the deputy arrived he found over 100 people the
re, some who had been there since 10 p.m. the night before. They had been lined up for hours to get one of the free Christmas baskets that are being giving out this year.
“Apparently around 7 a.m. the crowd started to get unruly and then pushing and shoving started along with some folks fighting and pulling each other’s hair. Deputy Newton was able to arrive and bring some civil order back to the event,” said Rogers.
There were no arrests from the incident, but that’s when Newton did contacted one of the suspects in the copper thefts.
“Makes you wonder what goes through someone’s mind…rip off your neighbor then go and get a free Christmas basket which are put together by…your neighbors,” said the sheriff.