Crooks rip off NE Portland family while at church

These slime-buckets broke in and stole the family goods and car. Then, they went on a spending spree with their credit cards. Help us bust these crooks by taking a look …

Annie Diess and her son Max show us where their TV, video games, and other home electronics used to sit, before they were stolen while they were in church on July 20.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It was a typical Sunday morning for the Diess family. They got ready and left for church on July 20 just before 8:00 am, as they typically do.

Sadly, criminals were watching their departure as they walked to their church.

When the family returned to their NE Portland home, just off E. Burnside Street, at 9:10 am, they found that crooks had broken into their home.

The thieves stole cell phones, a laptop computer, an Ipod, video equipment, jewelry, and even worse, credit cards. The crooks even stole the little girl’s piggy bank! The family’s big television was too tempting to leave behind, and they stole a family car, also.

The burglars didn’t get Max’s piggy bank, but they did steal the one that belonged to his sister.

Joy ride and spending spree
According to some reports, their stolen SUV was seen joy-riding around town – in areas from inner SE Portland to Gresham. Within hours, three people were seen in outer East Portland going on a spending spree – with credit cards belonging to the Diess family.

“Police received information from the Fred Meyer store at 14700 SE Division Street,” reported the bureau’s spokesman, Sgt. Brian Schmautz. “Three subjects attempted to use the victim’s credit card to buy about $700 worth of clothing. Store personnel became suspicious when they saw the suspects quickly stuffing merchandise into shopping carts. When they asked for identification, the subjects took off.”

It is obvious where the Diess family computer once sat on the desk in their home office.

Crime makes them feel suspicious
Reflecting back on the break-in, when she talked with us on July 31, the burgled homeowner, Annie Diess, said the family is still not sleeping well.

“I feel afraid, bad, and suspicious,” Diess told us. “We’re suspicious of every car that drives by or parks near home; we look at people who walk by the house. We’re constantly resetting our alarm system. It has changed our whole lives.”

She, and her son Max, show us most obvious result of the burglary – the gaping space where their widescreen television used to be, in the family’s media room. “Things like the TV can be replaced,” she commented. “There are a few sentimental pieces we really care about. More than that, I want the people who did this to know how much they hurt people by doing this. I hope they don’t get away with it.”

Max added, “It feels weird and bad because we won’t get to play games on the Wii for a long time. They also went into my room and took my pocket knife, and some rare coins I got from the Tooth Fairy.”

The young lad added he was sad because the crooks also stole presents from his First Communion.

Put the heat on these crooks and get cold cash
Fortunately, the Fred Meyer store surveillance system caught three individals on tape while inside “shopping” with the stolen credit cards. Take a look at this trio but note: the police call them “credit card fraud suspects” — they are not necessarily accused of being the persons who broke into the home.

Here are two looks at Suspect #1 – a white male in his 20’s, 5’10”, 170 pounds, short or possibly shaved head, goatee, and multiple tattoos on both arms and on the back of his neck. He was wearing a white baseball cap, awhite short sleeve T-shirt with “Hurley” on the front, and plaid shorts.

Suspect #2, seen here with the first suspected crook, is a white male, in his 20’s, short dark hair, wearing a short-sleeve striped polo shirt.

Suspect #3 is a white female in her 20’s, with long straight brown hair. She was wearing a dark-colored short sleeve top, and dark-colored pants.

By the way, the stolen vehicle, a 2005 blue Toyota Highlander, was recovered in the 5400 block of NE Hoyt Street, parked and left on July 25th.

Your tip can be anonymous
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, which leads to an arrest in this case, or in any unsolved felony, and you can remain anonymous. If you have a tip, call Crime Stoppers at (503) 823-HELP (4357), or visit the website, www.crimestoppersoforegon.com.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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