PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local couple claims they know who stole their car tent and custom rack from their North Portland two weeks ago – and they live just minutes away.
But the couple, who asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, told KOIN 6, that despite catching the thieves on camera, and pictures from neighbors which appear to show the same suspects taking the stolen items into their house, police told them there is still not enough evidence.
“It’s chilling that they live seven minutes away walking distance, it’s for sure that they did it, and nothing can be done,” the husband said. “We have to drive by their house every day to get groceries.”
The couple told KOIN 6 that the $3,500 worth of equipment is just the most recent item of several to be stolen from them since they moved to North Portland in 2018. But they said the theft of the RoofNest Condor had a lot of sentimental value, as the couple used it for their pandemic honeymoon road trip.
According to the couple, they caught the thieves on camera stealing the tent and rack.
The video shared with KOIN 6 News appears to show one man entering the couples’ backyard to scope out the items before leaving and coming back with a partner to help haul them off the property fifteen minutes later.
But when they reported the theft to the police the couple said they were only given preventative measures and were told there was not much they could do.
“They didn’t seem to really sound like they were going to investigate anything,” the wife told KOIN 6. “They said you can look for it online, you can try to track it.”
She continued, “I think he’s [the Officer] the one who mentioned putting it on NextDoor and on Facebook to see what the community could do. And that’s actually where we got the leads that we did get.”
The couple said after they took the advice of Portland police and posted the footage to NextDoor, a nearby neighbor quickly helped them crack the case.
“He recognized them immediately as his neighbors across the street,” the husband explained. “And then sent us some pictures of his neighbor, taking our exact tent into his house.”
But despite the mounting evidence, the couple told KOIN 6 that the response from PPB did not change.
“We were excited to show them the additional evidence,” he said. “But it was similar to the first response of, ‘we can’t do anything, our hands are kind of tied, that’s not good enough.’ … But if that’s not good enough, what’s good enough?”
KOIN 6 News asked PPB about the incident, and in an email, the bureau stated in part that, “the videos were not conclusive enough to prove correlation to the tent theft or other potential crimes.”
A PPB spokesperson went on to write, “If additional evidence comes to light, we’re happy to take another look at it … We certainly sympathize with the frustration of the victims of crime and want to do everything we can to help them, including making arrests where it can be proven a crime was committed and the person in question committed it.”
But the couple said the stolen items matter less to them than the lack of safety they feel.
“It’s frustrating. Other than snapping a picture of the guy standing next to our stolen tent with a thumbs up, you can’t get much better evidence,” the man told KOIN 6. “I don’t know what’s broken with the legal system where the cops are tied up and they can act on this.”