Suspect in $200K worth of C.O. vehicle thefts caught

ATVs, RVs, excavator found stashed near Millican

Vehicle theft ring suspects in custody

BEND, Ore. - (Update: Comments from police; search on to see if  other stolen items in area)

A man who led police on a pursuit east of Bend Saturday and eluded capture, leading to the discovery of more than $200,000 in recently stolen vehicles stashed on BLM land near Millican, was arrested Sunday at a Bend motel, officers said Monday.

Bend police detectives and officers investigating the incident determined that Thomas Garrett Castiglione, 38, described by police as a transient, was the driver who eluded officers in a black Dodge pickup on Saturday morning, said Lt. Clint Burleigh.

Castiglione was found to be at a local motel and was taken into custody without incident.

He was taken to the Deschutes County Jail and booked on several charges, including first-degree aggravated theft, first- and second-degree criminal mischief and seven counts of unauthorized use of a motor  vehicle. He was held Monday on $110,000 bail.

Around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Bend officers and detectives tried to stop the black 1999 Dodge pickup heading west on the highway, near the Flat Iron Rock Trailhead in the area of the Badlands Wilderness area, as police had information the occupants were involved in several vehicle thefts, said Sgt. Devin Lewis.

The pickup driver later identified as Castiglione sped away from officers, briefly stopping to drop a passenger off beside the highway, Lewis said. 

The passenger, Christopher Avon Tucker, 48, of Bend, was taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where he was held without bail on a parole violation and two outstanding warrants, the sergeant said.

Castiglione eventually left the highway and headed north through BLM land near milepost 15, in an area with no established roads or trails, Lewis said. Bend police did not pursue the pickup, due to safety concerns.

The driver ran from the pickup, which was found, and an extensive search including the use of a police K-9 failed to find him, Lewis said.

The investigation continued throughout the day, and an area of BLM property near Highway 20 East in the Millican area was identified as the location where suspects had been storing vehicles reported stolen over the past two weeks, the officer said.

“We followed up in the investigation, and were able to locate several stolen pieces of equipment, including some toy hauler trailers and some ATVs,” Burleigh said. 

Vehicles recovered in the area included two utility trailers, a Bobcat-style excavator, two toy hauler-style travel trailers, two quads and a side-by-side ATV.

Burleigh said detectives were still investigating the case Monday, but it’s believed the recovered stolen vehicles are worth more than $200,000.

“We’re still looking into a lot of the investigation," he said. "We don’t know if there’s more items stolen, and we’re looking to see in that area if there’s other things stolen.” 

Anyone with information that could assist police is asked to call the county non-emergency dispatch number at 541-693-6911.

Online court records show Castiglione also was arrested in Bend in March on charges of stealing a Bobcat excavator and a trailer. He was released in late March to a Corona, California address, pending further court proceedings but failed to appear for a hearing last month, online court records show.

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