Detroit 'Wheelbarrow Burglar' suspect caught in Idaho

Deputies say he'd break in, live in vacation homes

DETROIT, Ore. - A transient who Marion County sheriff's deputies dubbed the "Wheelbarrow Burglar" for his method of taking stolen goods from unoccupied Detroit-area vacation homes -- where he stayed sometimes for days this fall -- has been arrested in Idaho, accused of doing the same thing, officials said Saturday.

Boise County sheriff's deputies said they arrested Billie Jo Shrader, 33, on Wednesday after getting a tip from a homeowner who spotted him entering a vacation home in Lowman, Idaho. Boise-area deputies are investigating Shrader for possible ties to other Boise and Lowman burglaries similar to the ones committed last month in the Detroit Lake area, weeks after he got out of jail.

The deputies there say Shrader is cooperating with investigators, providing details of his activities since his release from prison in October.

Marion County authorities offered thanks to Detroit citizens for their help in watching out for Shrader and calling in tips. Anyone who feels they may have been a victim of Shrader's burglaries, or has any information about the known Detroit Lake burglaries was asked to contact Deputy Cody Lane at Clane@co.marion.or.us .

With the end of summer, many Detroit Lake residents leave their vacation homes and return to work in the city. Those vacation homes, along with homes that are posted for sale, became the target of a suspected burglar who is breaking in and "living" in them for days at a time.

Six burglaries were reported in a week, but deputies said the owners were often unable to narrow down a time frame, since they hadn't been to their homes in weeks or even months.

The burglar gained entry by prying doors and breaking windows, targeting homes without alarm systems.

While staying in the houses, the burglar made himself comfortable, they said -- showering, eating food and drinking liquor he found stored there. He also took camping gear, blankets, clothing and other staples when he left.

In every case, the man used a wheelbarrow to transport the stolen items, prompting deputies to dub him the "Wheelbarrow Burglar."

On Oct. 28, a homeowner arrived at his cabin on North Santiam Highway in Idanha and discovered a man sleeping in the master bedroom. When confronted, the man hurriedly fled, leaving behind some personal property that helped authorities identify him. The homeowner also able to snap a cell phone photo of the suspect as he fled.

Deputies said Shrader has a criminal record for burglary and trespassing, and was wanted in Curry County for a parole violation. He was not known to have access to a vehicle.

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