It probably seemed like ‘easy pickings’ to cruise into the Johnson Creek Freddie’s and grab a backpack full of flicks. Find out how two police agencies worked together to put these ‘caught-on-tape’ petty crooks in the slammer …
Even though it’s located in Clackamas County, many outer East Portlanders consider this Fred Meyer supercenter to be the one in their neighborhood. David F. Ashton photo
Story by David F. Ashton
Had their career not been cut short – one of them, immediately after the heist – this group of petty criminals probably would have liked the moniker we assigned them: “The Blu-Ray Crew”.
A little before closing time on June 24, five cool dudes slithered into the big Fred Meyer store on SE 82nd Avenue at SE Johnson Creek Boulevard.
The theft crew choreographed their movements, as they hit the Electronics/Music section of the store near the front door. A couple of them did their best to distract the employees on the sales floor as others started grabbing and stashing expensive high-definition TV movie recordings – called Blu-Ray disks.
Members of the Blu-Ray Crew check out the great DVD selection at Freddies. Fred Meyer Security photo
As they worked their little scheme, they looked smug and confident – while reportedly picking a section clean of $1,000 worth of Blu-Ray DVDs, and then hit the door. Fred Meyer Security photo
“Looking at the surveillance photos, it’s pretty clear they didn’t know they were being watched,” commented the Public Information Officer for Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Jim Strovink.
With so many titles to allegedly steal, this “shopper” (you see in profile) is the one officials toted the gun. Fred Meyer Security photo
Foot chase leads to armed confrontation
“It looks like they departed the store without paying for this merchandise,” Strovink told us. “Store security attempted to stop a male subject outside the store. As this person fled on foot across the Fred Meyer parking lot, one of the accompanying suspects intervened.”
Instead of putting up his fists, this guy allegedly pulled a gun and threatened the store’s security folks. “No gunshots were fired, and no one was injured, during this armed confrontation with store security,” Strovink observed.
One can only guess this suspect is saying, “No one’s looking, right?” Fred Meyer Security photo
The Crew starts gathering their new collection of Blu-Ray disks. Fred Meyer Security photo
‘All points bulletin’ issued
As the Blu-Ray Crew scattered, store security personnel kept in touch with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies – who put out a “calling all cars” across the interagency radio channels for all cops to be on the lookout for the armed thieves.
Hearing the call, an alert Portland Police Bureau East Precinct district officer headed south on SE 82nd Avenue. Two minutes after the call went out, the officer spotted a young man matching one of the descriptions, walking about five streets north at SE Clatsop Street, and took 17-year-old Consuegra Carlos Gonzales into custody.
One suspect looks out while the other starts checks out more titles. Fred Meyer Security photo
Time to gather up the merchandise and head for the door – without a courtesy stop at the checkout counter. Fred Meyer Security photo
Security photos shake up sinners
“Our detective was called in a midnight and worked around the clock,” Strovink said. “We quickly got the photos from Fred Meyer’s security system – they were of very high quality – and the calls started coming in.”
After seeing his photo plastered all over TV, one man involved in the caper gave himself up to police at North Precinct, as we learned from Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat. A Portland police officer recognized another of the suspects, Strovink added, and called in his name and address.
Based on tips they received, the CCSO detective enlisted the aid of additional detectives, deputies, and Portland Police Bureau officers. “One suspect told the detective that as soon as his picture was shown on TV, he started getting a lot of text messages from his friends.”
Time for this suspect to make a getaway. Fred Meyer Security photo
Gun makes it a ‘Measure 11’ crime
“Good work and cooperation all around helped get these suspects off the street,” Strovink said, after all of the Blu-Ray Crew members were rounded up. “Fred Meyer’s security people did a great job tracking the individuals in the store – and giving us great images. The camera never blinks.”
Most troubling was that this organized theft crew pulled a gun – meaning that this shoplifting caper could have had deadly outcome. “When they ultimately introduced the gun, it raised the stakes up to a being Measure 11 crime.” Strovink said. “Working to solve robberies for 20 years, I’ve seen many serial criminals. And, one of the suspects apprehended told detectives that he’d got in the habit of shoplifting and couldn’t stop. Hopefully, we’ve stopped this crew from committing future thefts – or perhaps killing someone.”
Now that we’ve seen “The Blu-Ray Crew” in action, let’s meet the gang …
Here’s 17-year-old Carlos Gonzalez Consuegra. He’s the suspect the Portland Police officer picked up immediately after the heist. He claimed he had no local address; but after he was remanded to Juvenile Court, it came out that he lives on the 9300 block of SE Tenino Ct. Charges are pending. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office photo
His friends call him “Buster” – but cops call 18-year-old Carl Edward Hollingquest Jr. “busted” – they’re charging him with Theft in the First Degree. It looks like he lives with his Blu-Ray Crew buddy, Carlos, on SE Tenino Court. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office photo
Meet 21-year-old Jerry Lewis Harrison. Because officials say Jerry had the weapon, he’s being charged with both First Degree Robbery and Theft in the First Degree. This suspect lives in the 2800 block of SE 47th Ave. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office photo
Introducing 19-year-old Timothy Calvin Massey, who lived in the 2300 block of SE 89th Ave. until he took up new residence in the Clackamas County Jail. He’s also charged with Theft in the First Degree. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office photo
21-year-old Marlon Martice Smith traveled all the way from NE Lombard St. — a couple blocks west of MLK Jr. Blvd. — to allegedly take part in this shoplifting party. He’s also charged with Theft in the First Degree. Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office photo
“All these adult suspects have been lodged in the Clackamas County Jail for the related charges and scheduled for their individual arraignments on these matters June 26, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. in the Clackamas County Circuit Court, in Oregon City,” reported Strovink. “All of these arrests were conducted without incident, and resulted in the recovery of the vast majority of the Blue Ray Disks allegedly stolen during this criminal event.”
© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News