By: Jim Rosenberg
A carrier for The Oregonian woke up Sherwood, Ore., residents at approximately 3:45 AM March 23 to alert them to prowlers breaking into cars.
Police in the town southwest of Portland arrived minutes later and arrested a 20-year-old and a juvenile. A third suspect was not captured.
Sherwood Police Captain Mark Daniel said the carrier delivered the Portland newspaper. Oregonian Circulation Director Kevin Denny identified him as Leon Lopez, a resident of nearby Tualatin.
“I had about 800 papers I had to deliver that night,” Lopez told E&P. “So my night was already pinched as it was.”
Lopez got no answer to his knock at the first house. Aware they’d been spotted, the suspects got in their car and took off. “So I hopped in the van and started chasing them up the street,” Lopez said. He then returned and managed to wake up another resident, who called police from his cell phone, then followed Lopez looking for and finding the suspects.
The resident took a quick detour and within minutes the suspects were nearly trapped between Lopez’s van and resident’s Mercedes. Lopez said he jumped out and held the steering wheel of the suspects’ car as they tried again tried to get away. After numerous punches to his arm, Lopez released the wheel, the suspects sped off, and Lopez and resident resumed their chase.
The incident, which lasted all of about 15 minutes, ended soon enough, when a fourth car up ahead proved to be an arriving police cruiser.
Lopez, 36, has delivered the Oregonian for about 10 years. During that time, he recalls, he’s come upon other prowlers, intoxicated drivers, even thieves backing a truck up to a garage they were about to empty.
Although the third suspect had yet to be arrested last week, “we know who he is,” Daniel said. According to Lopez, that third suspect’s wallet was found in one of the cars.
Two days after the Oregon break-ins, a London, Ark., newspaper carrier who discovered the forced entry of a convenience store called the county sheriff’s office, which told the Russellville Courier that $10,000 was missing after thieves broke into a safe. The thieves also left with $1,500 worth of cigarettes. No arrest was reported.