Vancouver mom plays detective in car break-ins case

VANCOUVER, Wash. - After a rash of car break-ins in her quiet suburban neighborhood, Amanda Marques did her own sleuthing in hopes of solving the crime.

Though the thief has yet to be caught, deputies are now using Marques' detective work to crack the case of the burglaries in her Orchards neighborhood near Northeast 137th Avenue and Fourth Plain Boulevard.

It started when the Vancouver stay-at-home mom woke up to find her neighbor's car window shattered. Marques' car and her husband's car were broken into, as well.

She had left her purse in the front seat of her car, which held her social security cards for her family and the money order for her mortgage. Her belongings were gone.

"It was Mother's Day. I had a lot of family over. It was a busy day for me," she said. "I didn't think to grab my purse. I didn't think to double check anything."

Marques filed a police report, but began tracking her debit card activity.

"I found out from my bank that someone tried using it up the street at an ATM several times on both of my debit cards," she said.

The AM-PM convenience store near her house gave Marques a surveillance video that showed a man trying to use multiple cards - at the same time her bank said her cards were being used.

Marques passed along the video to Clark County sheriff's deputies, who are now taking a closer look.

In another development, she also discovered the thief left another piece of evidence: a small necklace charm from her purse that had dropped on the sidewalk.

"He's tossed things all through the neighborhood. Maybe he tossed something in the trash," she said. "So I looked down and there's a wallet in the trash can and it still had a bunch of stuff in it. It had the woman's ID."

Now, deputies, taking into account Marques' detective work, are investigating. No suspect has been identified.

Marques hopes her handiwork pays off.

"It was still just an invasion of our privacy and our belongings," she said. "It's just really unsettling to know."