See how – in one swoop – combined police agencies stopped an alleged ‘steal-and-sell’ gang based in outer East Portland, which rang up $1 million in sales …
All is quiet now – but neighbors say they were shocked to see police swarm this apartment complex, located just east of the Portland City line.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Apparently, it’s fairly easy to make a million dollars selling merchandise on Internet websites – if the seller is paying nothing for the goods.
The lucrative eBay business of several Portland and Gresham men, begun in 2008, started to unravel in May, when an employee at the Beaverton location of Guitar Center music store checked online and located a guitar for sale, valued at $2,750, that had disappeared from their store.
This high-end guitar will find it way into the hands of a musician, legitimately now, instead of being sold as an eBay bargain.
Beaverton Police Department (BPD) detectives looked into the online “store”, and, in the course of their investigation, developed a four-person suspect list, according to BPD Public Information Officer Mike Rowe.
“The subjects were [alleged to have] actively involved in the theft and sale of high end guitars, cameras, computers, and recreation accessories,” stated Rowe.
Here’s another expensive guitar which police say is stolen.
These items were allegedly stolen from retail stores, then listed on eBay and sold to unsuspecting people, Rowe added. The items were listed below retail price, but not so low as to draw suspicion.
In cooperation with the Portland Police Bureau, the Tigard Police Department, the Snohomish Sheriff’s Office, United States Postal Inspectors, the Guitar Center, Safeway, Target, and other retail outlets, the investigation led BPD detectives to two mid-County residences.
On September 7, about 9:00 a.m., officers from the Beaverton and Portland Police Bureaus executed search warrants at 9127 SE Knapp Street in Portland, and at 16863 NE Glisan Street in Gresham
“After the search warrants were executed, there was stolen property located at both residences,” stated Rowe.
This is part of the “wad of cash” detectives found, when they raided the Gresham “stash house”.
At the Gresham alleged stash house, detectives found rolls of $100 bills, gold, new-in-the-box high-end electronics – and expensive guitars.
30 year old Ramuiel “Ryan” A. Talpas of Gresham and 32 year old Daniel Dan of Portland were arrested during the raids.
“The guys there were quiet, and kept to themselves,” said dismayed neighbor Betty West. “With all the police here, you’d think that they were bank robbers or something.” The men reportedly made over a million dollars in the scheme. The initial charges they faced were drug related, however.
These two men, Ramuiel Aurel Talpas of Gresham and Daniel Dan of Portland are in custody on drug charges – and more – in connection with this case.
Talpas remains in custody at Multnomah County Detention Center with charges ranging from Theft in the 1st Degree, (a C Felony), to possession of cocaine and heroin – in addition to being listed as a “County Hold”.
Dan is in custody at Washington County Jail, held on a drug charge, Possession of Heroin.
Two others who are alleged to have played a role in the fencing operation could be arrested in the future as the investigation continues.
© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News