Six suspects arrested in what deputy calls most expensive burglary ever in Columbia County
Six people in Columbia County have been arrested in what the sheriff's office calls an unprecedented burglary case.
“This is a big theft," Lt. Brian Pixley, a spokesman for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, told KATU on Monday. "We’ve had burglaries in the past but nothing in the dollar amount that this was.”
The burglary victim, Terry Wylie, 61, told KATU that at least $25,000 to $35,000 worth of his property was stolen including a memorabilia collection he's been building since he was 8 years old. He said the stolen items included die-cast toy cars, Beatles collectibles (mugs, cups, books, CDs), Kansas City Chiefs memorabilia, vintage records, magazines, comic books and a brand new, unopened safe the size of a dishwasher.
Wylie, who lives in South Beach, Oregon with his wife, said the property was stolen from their retirement home on the 74000 block of Laurel Wood Road in Rainier on Dec. 8.
He said soon after the crime his wife saw some of the items up for sale on the online marketplace, "OfferUp," which they reported to investigators.
On Dec. 27, deputies said a pawn shop owner in Longview called them to say he heard about the burglary and that he suspected a man sold him some of the items.
Investigators confirmed that man's identity as David Barker, 33. Pixley said they conducted a sting operation last week, luring Barker to try and sell some of the collectibles in Rainier. They then arrested him and another man, Daniel Gomez, 43.
Pixley said deputies found several stolen items after searching Barker and Gomez's home on Lindberg Road in Rainier, along with a trailer and a vehicle on the property. They said the house had previously been part of a months-long narcotics investigation by the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team (CENT).
The house is less than a mile from Wylie's retirement home. Wylie said he doesn't know the suspects.
Investigators said Gomez admitted to selling 100 vintage collectible albums in Portland for $200 as well as Beatles books to Powell's bookstore.
Gomez was also charged with endangering the welfare of a minor after deputies said he let two women on meth babysit his 3-year-old daughter. Those women, Desiree Kauffman and Vanessa Zamora, each also face counts of endangering the welfare of a minor and theft. Deputies said a fugitive felony warrant was out for Kauffman's arrest.
Gomez's daughter is now in protective custody.
Pixley said the case is still under investigation.
The following is a list of the six suspects arrested in this case and the charges they face:
Daniel Fredrick Gomez -- Burglary I, Aggravated Theft I (2 counts), Burglary II, Theft I, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, U and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor
David Glenn Barker -- Burglary I, Theft I (2 counts), Criminal Mischief II, Burglary II and Theft I
Vanessa Jeanette Zamora -- Theft I, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor
Rebecca Lynn Wynn --Theft I (2 counts)
Desiree Kristine Kauffman -- Theft I, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and a Felony Fugitive Warrant out of Washington State
Bruce Dylan Arquette -- Theft I.
Wylie told KATU he appreciates the efforts of the sheriff's office.
He said most of his property has been returned to him with the exception of the safe, several record albums and much of his Beatles and Kansas City Chiefs memorabilia. He said his home was unoccupied at the time of the burglary.
"It's always good to make sure people advise their neighbors that they're not gonna be home," Pixley said after being asked for tips on how residents can keep their property secure. "Keep the house well-lit. If you can, get a camera system or some other thing in place."
Powell's Books did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.