PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A suspect in a string of Southeast Portland business burglaries is now behind bars due to the efforts of the owner and employees of one of the places hit.
Often when reports are made about businesses that have been broken into or vandalized, there’s rarely any information about those responsible. But in this case, those at Montavilla Station used some sleuthing and tracked down a suspect using an iPad.
The burglary was caught on camera early in the morning as two suspects broke into Montavilla Station early Thursday.
“Checked the video cameras and sure enough, the window was smashed in,” said Tracy Stout, owner of Montavilla Station.
The suspects made off with the cash drawer and an iPad before looping back to take some liquor too. After filing a police report, Stout was home when she noticed the iPad was still connected to her MacBook with the same Apple ID, but saw whoever took it changed the name and added a new phone number.
“That was a mistake because I got their phone number,” said Stout. “I put the iPad into lost mode and used the ‘Find My’ application, and then I got an address too. I called the police back and told them the phone number and the address.”
In a team effort, two of Montavilla Station’s bartenders then went to the location of the iPad and waited nearby as police arrived and arrested 31-year-old Kevin Walsh on a warrant out of Oregon City.
The officer said Walsh denied any connection to the break-in, but after showing the officer the surveillance footage of the person involved and pinging the iPad to that same location, Walsh now faces felony charges including burglary and theft.
According to court documents, inside the apartment where Walsh was arrested, police also found a face covering that matched the one seen on surveillance.
“Had we not been there and had we not shown him the footage, he would’ve gotten away with, he would’ve been arrested for the unrelated charges,” said Karla Brookfield, one of the bartenders at Montavilla Station who went to the iPad location. “We’re not just going to sit back and just let you walk all over us and think that’s okay because it’s not okay.”
PPB then connected Walsh to a series of burglaries at four other businesses around the same time, including at least two businesses in a shopping center near 8200 Southeast Harrison Street, a bakery near 8600 Southeast Division Street, and a Chinese restaurant near 2400 SE 87th Avenue.
“Nobody ever gets caught, they always get away with it, and to catch him, it was great,” said Tammy Latourette, one of the bartenders at Montavilla Station who went to the iPad location.
Though the other suspect seen on camera at Montavilla Station hasn’t been caught yet, Stout said she’s grateful their team could help solve a case for other small businesses and bring some good news out of a bad situation.
“It’s a really good feeling to know we solved a case for other places and get them off the street,” said Stout. “We’re just doing what we can. We’re not going to give up, we’re going to stay in business. We made it through COVID, we’re going to make it through this too.”
Walsh did not appear in court Friday but was instead arraigned from the jail. He is expected to next appear in court March 31.