Hermiston Police arrested two suspects in unrelated property theft crimes Tuesday in what Police Chief Jason Edmiston describes as an unusually busy day for the department.
The first incident, reported at approximately 10:13 a.m. from Maurices clothing store regarding a female suspect that employees said left the store without paying for merchandise. Store employees were able to provide authorities with a vehicle license plate number, and officers quickly spotted and pulled over the vehicle after a moving violation. While a second officer responded to Maurices and took statements from employees, the suspect, 33-year-old Audrey L. Harshman, was arrested for theft, unlawful possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, according to a Hermiston Police Department press release. Harshman was subsequently booked into the Umatilla County Jail in Pendleton.
Chief Edmiston placed part of the credit for the speedy arrest with employees at the store.
Observant employees were able to provide our department with enough information to quickly locate Ms. Harshman and arrest her for her actions, Edmiston said in a press release. It is believed other clothing found in the vehicle may have been stolen from other retailers, and our officers are continuing this investigation.
According to the press release, police believe Harshman is a repeat offender because of the quantity of merchandise discovered in the vehicle.
The second incident occurred in two parts, the first beginning somewhere between 4 and 7 p.m. near the 600 block of Moore Avenue. Police responded to a call regarding a theft of what authorities described as a significant amount of property (jewelry, electronics, etc.) having been stolen. Around 9:45 p.m. the Hermiston Police Department recieved a call that the resident of the property on Moore Avenue had detained an individual who attempted to enter the residence unlawfully. Officers arrested 43-year-old Refugio H. Campos at the scene. According to an HPD press release, an investigation revealed Campos was responsible for the earlier burglary and was returning to the scene to retrieve more property when he was detained.
Campos was arrested on charges of burglary, attempted burglary, theft, criminal trespass, criminal miscief and unlawful entry to a motor vehicle, and he was booked into the Umatilla County Jail. Edmiston said the nature of the crime surprised even seasoned law enforcement officers.
This burglary is very alarming as the brazenness displayed by Mr. Campos to not only commit the initial act but to follow it up with a second act to retrieve property is unique, Edmiston said in a press release. We do not believe this to be a trend with regard to victimization (i.e. victimizing a residence twice in the same day), but we are concerned the risk of getting caught and properly punished for these property crimes is diminished by the reward of the crime itself.