MARION COUNTY, Ore. — Oregon deputies have arrested and booked two men they say looted homes that had been evacuated by owners fleeing this week’s deadly West Coast wildfires.
Anthony Travis Bodda, 21, and Alexander Justin Jones, 36, were nabbed Thursday after a vehicle pursuit through the Beachie Creek wildfire evacuation zone in Santiam Canyon, authorities said.
“I am disappointed that while in a state of emergency these people would victimize members of our community,” Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said. “The women and men of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are committed to holding people accountable if they chose to victimize residents from our evacuated areas.”
Bodda and Jones fled from deputies responding to a report of a suspicious van near the city of Detroit, east of Salem, sheriff officials said.
Fire crews had reported seeing the van earlier in the town of Idahna. Hence, they were concerned it was involved in recent lootings, FOX reported.
During the chase, Bodda and Jones tried to lose pursuing deputies by driving through a golf course, officials said.
Nevertheless, deputies caught up to the van and disabled it with spike strips.
Not to be deterred in their effort to escape, Bodda and Jones then tried to get away on foot. Fortunately, one was caught trying to break into an unoccupied home and the other was located trying to hide in a goat shed, according to the sheriff’s office.
Consequently, the opportunistic thieves were jailed on charges that included burglary, eluding an officer, reckless driving, interfering with a peace officer, possession of a burglary tool, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and criminal trespass, according to FOX.
Sheriff officials said several stolen items were recovered from inside the van. Furthermore, they said Bodda and Jones were responsible for $1,500 in damage to the golf course.